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Singapore employers reminded to provide one rest day per week, compensate workers who work on rest days

Singapore employers reminded to provide one rest day per week, compensate workers who work on rest days

Rate of pay for work on rest day is one day’s basic salary if the request is made by the worker and two days’ basic salary if the request is made by the employer.

In response to Member of Parliament (MP) He Ting Ru’s parliamentary query on compensation for working on rest days, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has confirmed that it currently does not track the number and type of such arrangements.

However, in his written answer, Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng did provide data on the phenomenon. Between 2020 and 2022, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) looked into about 535 claims from work permit holders each year regarding non-payment or short payment of salaries for work done on rest days. TADM resolved 95% of such cases through mediation while the rest were referred to the Employment Claims Tribunals.

As enforcement of the Employment Act, MOM has investigated an average of 68 complaints from work permit holders per year regarding rest day pay, including referrals from TADM. Breaches of the Employment Act were identified, owing to reasons such as employer’s administrative oversight, calculation errors, or financial difficulties. Thus, the Ministry took an educational approach to tackle such issues, improving their understanding of employment practices and rectifying them.

MOM further added: “Sterner enforcement actions were taken against employers of about 7% of the affected workers, where severe breaches of the Employment Act were detected.”

What comes under rest days and their compensation 

Under Part IV of the Employment Act, each employer must provide one rest day per week, which comprises one whole day (midnight to midnight), and is not a paid day.

For shift workers, the rest day can be a continuous period of 30 hours. A 30-hour rest period that starts before 6pm on a Sunday is considered as one rest day within the week, even if it extends into the Monday of the following week.

Employers cannot compel employees to work on a rest day, unless under exceptional circumstances.

As part of his response, Minister Tan added: “Rate of pay for work on rest day is one day’s basic salary if the request is made by the worker and two days’ basic salary if the request is made by the employer.”


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