What annual leave is used for depends on employment contract: NUS don

Many forms of giving are available to organisations that allow employees to make meaningful use of their entitlements. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Being able to convert your unused annual leave into cash donations depends on your employment contract, said National University of Singapore (NUS) academic Zhang Weina.

Dr Zhang, a senior lecturer in finance at the NUS Business School, said contracts also cover options available for handling unused leave, including whether it can be converted into cash, carried forward to the next year or forfeited.

The law requires bosses to allow some staff to carry unused leave forward to the next 12 months, she added.

These include employees engaged in manual labour like cleaning earning up to $4,500 a month, or white-collar employees like a clerk or receptionist earning up to $2,600.

Staff not covered under these provisions must use annual leave within 12 months. Any unused leave would be treated according to the employment contract, including being encashed, carried forward or forfeited, said Dr Zhang.

However, many local organisations allow employees to volunteer for charitable causes during paid working hours, said Dr Zhang, while several firms have also introduced "corporate giving" into their businesses.

Nanyang Technological University's donation to its students falls into this category of strategic giving, she noted. Faculty and staff at the university had donated more than $10 million of their unused leave to support its students.

Such donations help build social capital within the organisation and with stakeholders.

Many forms of giving are available to organisations that allow employees to make meaningful use of their entitlements, including using paid working hours to volunteer.

Instead of being a one-off event, Dr Zhang believes corporate giving requires strategic planning and budgeting so it can be integrated into an organisation's business model to benefit both donors and beneficiaries.

In the end, all forms of donating to charity should be encouraged, she said.

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