Four long weekends next year

Five public holidays fall on Friday or Sunday, giving workers a chance to plan short trips

There will be four long weekends next year, with 11 gazetted public holidays, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced yesterday.

While five holidays are on either a Friday or a Sunday, National Day and Hari Raya Haji fall on the same weekend next year.

The two holidays that fall on a Friday are Good Friday on April 19 and National Day on Aug 9, while the Sunday holidays are Vesak Day on May 19, Hari Raya Haji on Aug 11 and Deepavali on Oct 27. For the holidays falling on a Sunday, the following Monday will be a public holiday.

There are also four long weekends this year. Three - New Year's Day, the first day of Chinese New Year and Good Friday - have passed. The last one, Hari Raya Puasa, falls on June 15, a Friday.

For most workers, long weekends serve as a way to catch a breather in the midst of a hectic schedule. Often, this also means a short getaway.

"Singaporeans are avid travellers and will take up every opportunity to travel," said Ms Alicia Seah, director of public relations and communications at Dynasty Travel.

  • 50%

    Increase in the number of travellers seen by travel agency Chan Brothers during long weekends, compared with regular ones.

"The most popular destina-tions are usually Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Australia."

Travel agency Chan Brothers said it records a 50 per cent increase in travellers during long weekends, as compared with regular ones.

Sales director Jason Lim, 47, is looking forward to taking a beach vacation during 2019's long weekends - "perhaps to Cebu", and plans to take leave to lengthen his holiday.

"You need more than three days away from Singapore to truly feel rested," he said.

Staycations are an option for Singaporeans who want a break without travelling too far. Educator Nafisah Md Ma'mun, 48, said such breaks are an annual family tradition, adding: "Every year, during one of the long weekends, we will choose a different place in Singapore to explore. It is fun going around Singapore with a tourist's point of view. Sometimes, we get so surprised because we find places we didn't know existed."

MOM also issued a reminder of Employment Act rules. An employee required to work on a public holiday is entitled to an extra day's salary at the basic rate. Alternatively, the employer and employee may agree to substitute a public holiday for another working day.

An employer also has the option of granting managers and executives, earning up to a basic monthly salary of $4,500, time off in lieu for working on a public holiday.

The time off should consist of a mutually agreed number of hours.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2018, with the headline 'Four long weekends next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe