Singapore

4 long weekends in 2019, with 11 gazzeted public holidays

There will be four long weekends in 2019, with 11 gazetted public holidays, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced yesterday.

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

The two 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 that fall on 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 the Chinese New Year and Good Friday - have already passed. The last one, Hari Raya Puasa, falls on Friday, June 15.

SHORT BREAK

For most workers, long weekends serve as a way to catch a breather. Often this 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 of Dynasty Travel.

"The most popular destinations 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 to regular ones.

Sales director Mr Jason Lim, 47, said he is looking forward to taking a beach break during 2019's long weekends - "perhaps to Cebu" - and planning to add some of his leave time to the holiday.

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

Staycations are an option for those who want a break without travelling too far.

Educator Ms Nafisah Md Ma'mun, 48, said they are "like an annual family tradition", adding: "Every year, during one of the long weekends, we will choose a different place in Singapore to explore. It's 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."

The MOM 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.

COMMUNITY ISSUES