NSmen in public service get a day off

A contingent of infantry soldiers march during Singapore's 52nd National Day celebrations at Marina Bay, Singapore August 9, 2017.
A contingent of infantry soldiers march during Singapore's 52nd National Day celebrations at Marina Bay, Singapore August 9, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Some public servants who have completed national service will be able to enjoy a day off, on a date of their own choosing, in an initiative marking 50 years of national service (NS50).

This NS50 benefit, which must be taken by Dec 31, applies to all non-uniformed employees who are past and present operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen).

Agencies that have given a day off to their NSmen employees include the Public Service Division and the National Environment Agency, according to a Straits Times check.

ST also found that employees of some statutory boards and ministries were notified earlier this month.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef), which led the initiative, said: "Public and private sector agencies are encouraged to commemorate NS50 and recognise the contributions of their NSmen."

News of the day off first spread on forum discussions online, and was recently reported in the media.

A Mindef spokesman said: "For 50 years, national service has been the bedrock of the peace and stability upon which we have built Singapore."

He said the day off initiative was launched to commemorate this milestone.

A range of events, benefits and products have and will be held throughout the year to celebrate NS50.

Among them are the $100 worth of vouchers that all servicemen can use at over 6,000 outlets islandwide from more than 270 merchants.

On June 30, all national servicemen were also treated to an "NS50 Free Travel Day", travelling for free on public buses and trains if they were in uniform.

Civil servant Ou Ningfei said he would probably use his day off to go out with friends, run errands or watch a show.

The 28-year-old said he was grateful for this small gesture.

"I've done two years of national service and this is a feel-good cherry on top to show that the civil service recognises it, and is giving us a token of appreciation for it."

Jose Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'NSmen in public service get a day off'. Print Edition | Subscribe