10 Facts About Annual Leave in S’pore That All Employees Need to Know


Last Updated on 2021-04-23 , 11:33 am

Everyone loves annual leave! It is our life-saver whenever we need a break. All of us probably have different number of days of paid annual leave, depending on the generosity of our employers.

Some of us have 7 days, others have 14 days (the typical NSF, in fact), and yet some have up to 21 days!

But what else do you know about your annual leave other than the number of days? Here are ten facts you’ve got to know, because #weallemployees

If you prefer to watch this topic instead, here’s a video we’ve done:

Employees are eligible for paid annual leave only after working at least 3 months for an employer

Employers have the right to deny paid annual leave if you work for the company for less than 3 months. If you have worked for the employer for less than one year, your leave will be prorated.

The minimum number of paid annual leave is 7 days in Singapore

If you are getting more than 7 days of paid annual leave after working for a year for an employer, count yourself lucky. Most executives and managers will have at least a minimum of 14 paid annual leave, but there are some unlucky souls working in local companies who only have 7 days of paid annual leave and the employers will count it towards days when the company is closed for festivals such as Chinese New Year.

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Singapore has one of the lowest minimum number of paid annual leave around the world

Besides China and a few other countries which have a lower minimum number of paid annual leave, Singapore has one of the lowest minimum at 7 days. Even places like Zimbabwe have minimum days of 22 days paid annual leave with a maximum of 90 paid annual leave per year! Shocking, isn’t it?

Your notice period is included when prorated leave is being calculated

If you have tendered your resignation, your prorated leave should include your notice period. Therefore, you will need to check that your employer is doing the right thing and giving you the correct number of prorated leave.

For example, if you have 12 days of annual leave and your notice period is the entire month of February, you have 2 days worth of leave instead of 1.

It is counted as one day leave if you take leave on a half-day of work

In some bigger companies, they celebrate festivals by allowing their employees to leave work early on the eve of major holidays like Chinese New Year, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you take leave during these days, it will be counted as a one day leave by law. However, some employers are nice enough to count it as a half-day leave, but that is entirely dependent on your employers.


So here’s an advice: try not to take any leave during those half-day workdays. After all, during these days, the office is usually in a festive mood so you most likely won’t have to work much!

Your annual leave can be forfeited

Your employer reserves the right to forfeit your leave if you are absent from work without reason or permission for more than 20% of the working days in the months or a year. It will also be forfeited if you are dismissed from employment on grounds of misconduct.

Encashment of leave is dependent on individual employers

Most employers do not encourage the encashment of leave because they want their employees to take time off to spend with their families and friends. If you have unconsumed leave that you fail to take within the 12 months’ period after the end of 12 months of continuous service, your employer can either forfeit the leave or allow you to encash it. Either that, some companies allow you to carry them over to the next year.

Employees working in shift has more leave

Employees who are working in shifts that exceed 8 hours are entitled to 1 day of leave equivalent to their actual working day. That means, if an employee works 12 hours shift for 5 days a week, they should get extra leave of up to 60 hours a week.

Unpaid annual leave is not governed

Some companies allow their employees to take unpaid leave as part of their company’s benefits. However, unpaid annual leave is subjected to the employer’s approval and the employer has the right to deduct your salary accordingly. There are no rules to govern unpaid annual leave.

Annual leave does not cover marriage and compassionate leave

This is possibly one of the biggest misunderstood clauses in any contract. Marriage and compassionate leave are not part of the annual leave and should not be counted toward your paid annual leave. While it is up to the company to decide whether marriage and compassionate leave are to be given, the usual case is a separate 3 days leave for marriage and compassionate leave that are not counted towards your paid annual leave.

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