There will be a bumper crop of long weekends next year, seven to be exact, three more than in the two years before that.
Of the 11 public holidays next year, four fall on a Friday, and three fall on a Sunday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday. For holidays that fall on a Sunday, the Monday that follows is a public holiday.
The Friday holidays next year are Good Friday on April 10, Labour Day on May 1, Hari Raya Haji on July 31 and Christmas on Dec 25.
The Sunday holidays are the second day of Chinese New Year on Jan 26, Hari Raya Puasa on May 24 and National Day on Aug 9.
Two more long weekends are possible if one were to take leave on the Friday after Vesak Day, which falls on May 7, a Thursday, and on the Friday before Deepavali, which is on Nov 14, a Saturday.
Some may also choose to stretch their Chinese New Year break by taking an extra day off before or after the Jan 25 to Jan 27 long weekend.
There is at least one holiday in January, April, May, July, August, November and December. January and May have three holidays each.
The list of public holidays for next year is available on MOM's website.
There were seven long weekends in 2015 and 2017, six in 2016, and five in 2011 and 2012.
There are only four long weekends this year, and this was the case last year, as well as in 2013 and 2014.
Three public holidays have already passed this year, and two long weekends are approaching: Good Friday on April 19, and Vesak Day on May 19, which is a Sunday, so the Monday that follows is a holiday.
In its statement yesterday, MOM said that with the amendments to the Employment Act, which took effect on April 1, employees who are required to work on a public holiday are entitled to an extra day's salary at the basic rate of pay.
Alternatively, the employer and employee may mutually agree to substitute a public holiday for another working day.
An employer also has the additional option of granting time off in lieu, based on a mutually agreed number of hours, for working on a public holiday for the following group of employees:
•Workmen earning more than $4,500 a month;
•Non-workmen earning more than $2,600 a month; and
•All managers and executives.