Time-off-in-Lieu of Public Holidays


Time-off-in-Lieu of Public Holidays

by Yi Ting
April 26, 2021



Workplaces are changing and evolving, thanks to technology. Employees can be online and productive in the blink of an eye, wherever they are. Work hours are becoming fluid, and employees are expected to work as required rather than fixed working hours. 

At the same time, a new generation of workers is demanding flexibility from their employers. Traditional roles within homes and family are changing. And more emphasis is being placed on life/work balance. To attract and retain great talent, employers need to respond innovatively. It’s not always a case of the highest pay cheque being the winner.

When it comes to public holidays, cultural and religious celebrations may not be regarded with the same solemnity of past eras. Modern employees want the flexibility to decide when to take their time off.


Employment law is changing to meet changing market demands.

Employment laws designed to protect both employees and employers tend to be authoritarian and rules-based. However, internationally we see a shift that recognises the changing workplace environment. For example, some US companies offer employees a Paid Time Off (PTO) policy, which combines vacation, sick time, and personal time into a single credit of paid leave days. Workers can use the days at their discretion. 

In April 2019, the public holiday off-in-lieu Singapore employment law was changed to mandate employers to offer a day off-in-lieu or one extra day’s salary in lieu for public holidays falling on rest days or non-working days to more employees. This was previously not regulated for managers and executives earning more than $4500 a month. 

For example, if employees are working a 5-day week, Saturday will be a non-working day and Sunday will be a rest day. In the case whereby the public holiday falls on a Saturday, employees should either get a public holiday off-in-lieu or salary in lieu. If the public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following working day, Monday, will automatically be a paid public holiday.

On the other hand, if employees are required to work on public holidays, the employer should either pay an additional day’s pay or by mutual agreement, provide a public holiday off-in-lieu or time-off-in-lieu.

Some employers have been reluctant to take advantage of the new ruling. Mostly this has been because of the administrative burden of tracking the exchanges. But HR software is catching up with the new legislation, for example, JustLogin’s new time-off-in-lieu feature allows employers to apply a time-off-in-lieu rule to all employees, a subset or a single employee. The system also allows administrators to set an expiration date for time-off-in-lieu days, so you can restrict employees to take the time off within the same month for example, rather than letting the time-off-in-lieu accumulate.

Time-off-in-lieu isn’t reserved for just public holidays. Sometimes employees may work or attend training over a weekend or after hours. Instead of being paid overtime, they can be offered time-off-in-lieu during regular work hours. 


Benefits for Employees

The time-off-in-lieu system is a step towards treating employees like the empowered adults they are. Time off can be used at their discretion. They no longer have to divulge the details of their private lives to justify time off to take a family member for medical treatment, for example.

Time-off-in-lieu also offers employees a better work/life balance. It can help to prevent burn-out – something paying them overtime doesn’t solve. And if their contract of employment doesn’t cater for overtime pay, expectations of excess hours can increase stress, build resentment and destroy staff morale.

Time is an increasingly valuable commodity, especially at the high end of the pay scale. After a pressured period of work, employees with stressful jobs often appreciate time off over financial remuneration. Especially when you consider remuneration is taxed and time off isn’t.


Benefits for Employers

For employers, time-off-in-lieu offers an opportunity to keep operations running as usual. Public holidays can be disruptive, and for some industries, the holidays mean extra work, not the reverse. Essential services and the hospitality industry are prime examples.

Time-off-in-lieu doesn’t impact the bottom line in terms of profitability the way overtime payments do. So it’s a good option when money’s tight. Employees can perform the work necessary to get a business back into the black without affecting the financials.

The most qualified, valuable employees often seek flexibility from employers. And they can demand it. Offering time-off-in-lieu can make you a preferred employer.

It makes sense for your roadmap to becoming an employer of choice to include a time-off-in-lieu policy. Give thought upfront to the possible scenarios that may evolve and how you want to deal with them. Employees get frustrated and resentful when policies are rolled out, and the details only become apparent in dribs and drabs.


Administering time-off-in-lieu with expiry on JustLogin

To adjust for time-off-in-lieu days with JustLogin, first go to Leave Menu and select Configuration. Under Advanced Settings, check ‘Enable adjustment with expiry date’ and click Save to activate this feature.

To assign time-off-in-lieu with expiry, go to the Leave Menu and select Administration. Click on the tab for Adjustments and complete the form as follows;

Leave Type: PH in lieu (for Public Holiday in Lieu)

Adjustment Type: Credit (to add days)

Adjustments Days: The number of days applicable

Effective Date: The date the in-lieu transaction relates to.

Expiry date: The date the days expire.

Remarks: This is a free field to add your notes.

Employees: Indicate which employee/s the adjustment applies to.


View the full support guide here.


Employees can then easily apply for their off-in-lieu through their mobile app:


Not a JustLogin Customer?

That’s easy to rectify – just claim your 14-day free trial and get started right away. Using JustLogin means your data is stored securely on the cloud for you to access from anywhere, anytime. And employees can view and manage their leave online via the JustLogin portal. With JustLogin’s comprehensive, integrated HR management system, you’re free to spend your time on people, not paperwork.


Get started on cloud-based HR with JustLogin

JustLogin is a suite of cloud-based HR applications that helps small to mid-sized businesses automate their payroll, leave, attendance, and expense claims. We’ve helped thousands of businesses achieve increased productivity and better employee experience – no matter if they are working from an office, at a restaurant, in a retail shop, at a warehouse facility, or of course, even working from home. Give JustLogin a try today at justlogin.com/free-trial.

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