Due to local and global lockdowns and widespread travel restrictions, many employees have struggled to utilise paid annual leave this year. Common options for employees who have not been able to use all of their leave entitlements are to carry leave over or to encash leave.
Our recent survey of employee benefits in Singapore showed that on average, only 10.55% of companies in Singapore currently allow leave encashment. We may see this number rise given the unprecedented situation COVID-19 had put both businesses and employees in. However, the effects of the pandemic, especially on SME businesses, may mean that this is not a viable option for companies to continue when so many of their employees have leftover leave. The financial strain can be significant at this time, so companies may be creative in offering additional perks for unused leave, rather than cash. Some companies are instead adjusting policies and allowing employees to carry over leave into the following holiday year, or increasing the number of days for carry-over than were previously allowed.
With vaccines already approved in some countries, travel bubbles are likely to grow over the next year. Meanwhile, the Singapore Tourism Board has rolled out initiatives such as SingaporeRediscovers, providing $100 vouchers to encourage Singaporeans to rediscover the city-state and support local tourism businesses. The vouchers can be used for attractions, hotel stays and tours.
With 2021 just around the corner, and annual leave allowances set to renew, we put together a calendar of Singapore's Public Holidays, showing the best dates to book annual leave to make the most of the 2021 long weekends.