All employees covered by the Employment Act are entitled to 11 paid public holidays in a year.
The 11 gazetted public holidays are:
- New Year's Day;
- Chinese New Year (two days);
- Hari Raya Puasa;
- Hari Raya Haji;
- Good Friday;
- Labour Day;
- Vesak Day;
- National Day;
- Deepavali; and
- Christmas Day.
The employer and employee may mutually agree to substitute a public holiday for any other day.
An employee is entitled to his/her gross rate of pay on a public holiday, provided the employee does not absent him/herself from work on the working day immediately before or after a holiday without:
- The employer's consent; or
- A reasonable excuse.
An employee is entitled to holiday pay if he/she is on authorised leave (e.g. sick leave, annual leave) on the day immediately before or after a holiday.
An employee is not entitled to holiday pay if he/she is on approved no pay leave.
If the holiday falls on a rest day, the next working day will be a paid holiday.
If the holiday falls on a non-working day or off day, the employer may decide to:
- Compensate the employee with an extra day's pay in lieu of that holiday; or
- Give the employee another day off as a holiday.
Payment for work done on a public holiday
Employers may sometimes require an employee to work on a public holiday. If so, the employee should be paid:
- An extra day's salary at the basic rate of pay for working on the public holiday; and
- The gross rate of pay for that holiday.
A monthly-rated employee's monthly gross salary includes the gross daily rate of pay for a holiday. Hence, the employer need only pay an additional day's pay at the employee's basic rate of pay.
Employers may also grant time-off-in-lieu to an employee in a managerial or executive position who is required to work on a public holiday, comprising such number of hours as mutually agreed. If there is no mutual agreement on the duration of time-off-in-lieu to be granted for work on a public holiday, the employer can decide on one of the following:
- pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay for one day’s work;
- grant time-off-in-lieu on a working day comprising 4 hours if the employee worked on that public holiday for a period not exceeding 4 hours; or
- grant a full day off on a work day if the employee worked on that public holiday for more than 4 hours.
A monthly-rated employee who works on a public holiday but absents without reason on the working day immediately before or after the holiday is not entitled to the holiday pay which is already included in his monthly gross salary. His employer can therefore deduct one day's pay at the gross rate for the holiday pay from his monthly gross salary. However, his employer has to pay him one day's pay at the basic rate of pay for working on the public holiday.
The rate of payment for overtime work beyond normal working hours on a public holiday is at least 1.5 times the employee's hourly basic rate of pay.