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Public holiday pay guide for employers in Singapore

Understanding the ins and outs of public holiday pay is crucial to ensuring you're treating your employees fairly and staying compliant with HR regulations. The intricacies can be a bit overwhelming, especially when calculations vary in different scenarios. This is why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you gain more clarity and confidence in managing public holiday pay like a seasoned HR professional.

What is public holiday pay?

In Singapore, the Employment Act mandates that employees are entitled to enjoy 11 paid public holidays annually. While this undoubtedly brings cheer to your workforce, it also places a responsibility on employers to uphold fairness and adherence to regulations. When an employee is requested to work on a public holiday, it is crucial that they receive due compensation, either an additional day's remuneration or a compensatory day off. Public holiday pay serves not only as a recognition of their efforts but also as an incentive for their dedication.

How do I calculate public holiday pay for full-time employees?

If the public holiday falls on Your employee is entitled to
A working day An extra day’s salary at the basic rate of payThe gross rate of pay for that holidayOvertime pay is paid if the employee works beyond his or her normal working hours
A non-working day (e.g., Saturday for employees on a 5-day work week) Overtime pay for extra hours worked on a SaturdayOne extra day’s salary at the gross rate of pay or another day off for the public holiday
A rest day Payment for work done on a rest dayOvertime pay is paid if the employee works beyond his or her normal working hoursThe next working day will be a paid holiday instead

Read on as we further break down the calculations for the basic rate of pay, gross rate of pay, and overtime pay!

What is the basic rate of pay and how do I calculate it?

The basic rate of pay includes wage adjustments and increments that an employee is entitled to under a contract of service.

For those with monthly-rated employees, here's the formula to calculate the basic rate of pay:

12 x The monthly basic rate of pay / 52 x Average number of days an employee works in a week

Do note that the basic rate of pay excludes:

  • Overtime payments, bonus payments, and annual wage supplements (AWS)
  • Reimbursement of special expenses incurred in the course of employment
  • Productivity incentive payments
  • Any allowance

What is the gross rate of pay and how do I calculate it?

The gross rate of pay includes allowances that an employee is entitled to under a contract of service.

For those with monthly-rated employees, here's the formula to calculate the gross rate of pay:

12 x The monthly gross rate of pay / 52 x Average number of days an employee works in a week

Do note that the gross rate of pay excludes:

  • Overtime payments, bonus payments, and annual wage supplements (AWS)
  • Reimbursement of special expenses incurred in the course of employment
  • Productivity incentive payments
  • Travel, food, and housing allowances

Example of how to calculate public holiday pay for an employee who works on a public holiday

Sarah, a full-time employee, has a basic monthly salary of $2,500 and works 5 days per week. She works on 1 public holiday this month.

Her public holiday pay = 12 x The monthly basic rate of pay x Public holiday worked on / 52 x Average number of days an employee works in a week

= 12 x $2,500 x 1 / 52 x 5

= $115.38

Example of how to calculate public holiday pay for an employee who works on a public holiday that falls on a non-working day

Jack’s gross monthly salary (including allowances under his contract) is $3,000, and he works 5 days per week. He works on 1 public holiday this month, which falls on a non-working day (Saturday).

His public holiday pay on a non-working day = 12 x The monthly gross rate of pay x Public holiday falling on a non-working day / 52 x Average number of work days in a week

= 12 x $3,000 x 1 / 52 x 5

= $138.46  

How do I calculate overtime pay on a public holiday?

Overtime pay is calculated as follows:

Hourly basic rate of pay × 1.5 × Number of hours worked overtime

Tip: Head over to “The overtime pay guide for employers in Singapore” to get your questions answered about overtime pay, or use our overtime pay calculator for a fuss-free calculation!

Are part-time employees entitled to public holiday pay?

Yes, your part-time employees are also entitled to public holiday pay, which is prorated as follows based on the number of hours you work:

Number of working hours a part-time employee works per year / Number of working hours a similar full-time employee works per year x Number of public holidays a similar full-time employee with equal length of service is entitled to x Number of working hours a similar full-time employee works in a day

Example:

Joe, a part-time employee, works 20 hours per week for all 52 weeks, while a full-time employee in the same role works 40 hours per week. The full-time employee works 8 hours a day and is entitled to 11 public holidays per year. 

The calculation would be as follows: (20 x 52 weeks / 40 x 52 weeks) x 11 x 8 = 44 hours

Joe would therefore be entitled to 44 hours of public holiday pay per year for all 11 public holidays.

Therefore, for every public holiday, Joe will be paid = 44 hours / 11 public holidays = 4 hours

Tip: Read everything you need to know about hiring part-time employees with our “Guide to hiring part-time employees in Singapore”!

Can I offer a public holiday in lieu instead of public holiday pay to my employees?

Yes, you and your employee can mutually agree to substitute a public holiday for another working day.

What if my employee is not covered under Part IV of the Employment Act?

Part IV of the Employment Act does not cover workmen who earn a monthly basic salary of more than $4,500 or non-workmen who earn a monthly basic salary of more than $2,600. The terms and conditions of employment will therefore be according to your employee’s employment contract.

You can either grant your employee time off in lieu of working on a public holiday based on a mutually agreed number of hours or decide on one of the following:

  • Pay an extra day’s salary at the basic rate of pay for one day’s work.
  • For working for 4 hours or less on a holiday, grant time off in lieu of 4 hours on a working day.
  • For working for more than 4 hours on a holiday, grant a full day off on a working day.

Tip: Find out how you can manage your public holiday off-in-lieu with Payboy’s leave management module and our guide on “Singapore Public Holidays 2024 - How to maximise your long weekends.”

Simplify public holiday pay calculations with Payboy HR software!

Public holiday pay calculations can be complex, especially if you are managing a large team of employees with different work arrangements. But fret not, as Payboy HR software is here to help! 

With our fully compliant, customisable, and integrated payroll processing module, you can automate the calculations of public holiday pay and also enjoy additional features that are designed to save you time and effort.

  1. 100% compliance and 100% peace of mind
    • Forget about payroll and SDL calculations, CPF contributions, and IR8A submissions. Our software will automatically calculate them for you and keep you compliant with the latest regulations from MOM, CPF, and IRAS.
  2. Covers any work arrangement
    • Working with full timers, part timers, freelancers, and contract staff? We’ll take care of the unique payroll requirements for each working arrangement.
  3. Transparent, Accurate, and Simple
    • Have full visibility on how payroll is calculated automatically based on shifts, attendance, leave, and submitted claims within an intuitive experience.
  4. Customisable itemised payslips
    • Automatically generate itemised payslips for your employees.
  5. Fully integrated with your preferred platforms
    • We’ll fit into your ecosystem seamlessly and keep your finance team happy. Learn more about our seamless integrations with Xero, Financio, and Quickbooks.

Tip: Learn how to use Payboy to prepare accurate calculations of your employees’ public holiday pay!

Streamline your HR processes with Payboy today!

As a PSG-approved HRMS, Payboy provides a robust system to help you manage your HR tasks so that you can focus on your business and people!

With our wide range of modules, you can customise a solution to meet the specific needs of your business:

Payroll Processing | Leave Management | Claims Management | Applicant Tracking| Time Attendance | Shift Scheduling | Appraisal System | Inventory Management | Project Costing | Training Management | Benefits

Find out how you can do it all with Payboy

Reach out to us if you are keen for a free demo on how we can help you save hours and give you some peace of mind on payroll and other HR matters so that you can focus on your business and people.
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