Finance & Compliance

Understanding Compassionate Leave in Singapore: A Comprehensive Guide

Winnie Lu

Jun 21, 2024

Compassionate leave, also known as bereavement leave, is a crucial part of supporting employees during difficult times.

In Singapore, while not mandated by law, many companies provide compassionate leave as part of their employment policies. This guide will explore what compassionate leave entails, legal requirements, common practices, and the benefits of offering such leave.

What Is Compassionate Leave (Bereavement Leave)?

Compassionate leave allows employees to take time off work to grieve and manage arrangements following the death of an immediate family member. It helps employees cope with their loss without the added stress of work commitments.

Legal Requirements about Compassionate Leave in Singapore

In Singapore, compassionate leave is not a statutory requirement under the Employment Act. This means employers are not legally obligated to provide it. However, many companies include it as part of their benefits to support employee well-being​.

Common Bereavement Leave Practices

Companies typically offer between two to five days of compassionate leave. The exact number of days can vary depending on company policy and the employee's relationship to the deceased.

Paid vs. Unpaid Compassionate Leave

Compassionate leave can be either paid or unpaid. While paid leave is more common, some companies may offer unpaid leave or allow employees to use their annual leave if they need more time.

Photo by: Karolina Grabowska

Covered Family Members

Compassionate leave is generally granted for the death of immediate family members, including:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Siblings

Some companies may extend this to in-laws or other close relatives, but this is less common and depends on individual company policies​.

Should Compassionate Leave Be Taken Consecutively?

Typically, compassionate leave is taken consecutively following the death of a loved one. This allows employees to attend immediate funeral arrangements and begin the grieving process without interruption​.

The Benefits of Offering Compassionate Leave

Offering compassionate leave has numerous benefits, including enhancing employee well-being, boosting loyalty and retention, and maintaining productivity. Learn how supportive leave policies can positively impact your workplace.

  1. Employee Well-Being: Providing compassionate leave shows that the company cares about its employees' emotional and mental health, fostering a supportive work environment.
  2. Loyalty and Retention: Employees are more likely to stay with a company that supports them during tough times, enhancing loyalty and reducing turnover​.
  3. Productivity: Allowing employees time to grieve properly can lead to a quicker and healthier return to work, maintaining overall productivity​​.

Practical Tips for Employers

Employers can effectively manage compassionate leave by implementing clear policies, fostering a supportive environment, and maintaining open communication. Here are practical tips to ensure success.

  1. Clear Policies: Ensure your company's compassionate leave policy is clearly outlined in the employee handbook. Include details on eligibility, duration, pay, and the application process​.
  2. Supportive Environment: Foster a workplace culture that supports employees during their bereavement. This can include regular check-ins, flexible working arrangements, and providing access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)​.
  3. Communicate: Maintain open communication with the grieving employee and their team to manage workload and support transitions back to work​​.


Compassionate leave is a vital part of employee support systems. While not legally required in Singapore, many employers recognize its importance and offer it as part of their employment benefits. Clear policies, supportive practices, and open communication can make a significant difference in how employees cope with loss and return to work.

By understanding and implementing compassionate leave effectively, companies can not only support their employees' well-being but also enhance loyalty and productivity, creating a healthier and more supportive workplace for all.

Ensuring Compliance for a Supportive Work Environment

Effortlessly manage compassionate leave and other absences with Swingvy's Leave Management Software. Streamline the process, ensure compliance, and support your employees during their toughest times.

Learn More about Swingvy Leave management software

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