Channel NewsAsia

Bumper stretch of long weekends next year for Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released the list of Singapore’s public holidays for next year - and there will be long weekends aplenty.

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday (Apr 8) released the list of Singapore’s public holidays for next year - and there will be long weekends aplenty.

There will be seven long weekends (with holidays either falling on a Friday or Monday) for Singaporeans next year.

Five public holidays fall on a Friday:

- The second day of the Lunar New Year (February 20)
- Good Friday (April 3)
- Labour Day (May 1)
- Hari Raya Puasa (July 17)
- Christmas Day (December 25)

National Day 2015 falls on a Sunday, so the Monday that follows will be a public holiday.

MOM also noted that the date for Deepavali for next year is subject to change, and will need to be confirmed when the Hindu Almanac is available, usually by the first half of next year.

At the same time, MOM also confirmed that Deepavali this year will fall on October 22, a Wednesday, and not October 23 as previously announced, after consulting with the Hindu Advisory Board. 

Thus, October 22 this year will be gazetted as a public holiday.

The list of public holidays for 2015 is also available on MOM's website.

Employees are looking forward to the bumper crop of long weekends next year - the highest since 2010 which also had seven long weekends.

Financial adviser Shawn Lim said: "More holidays, more to enjoy, I guess. Can take longer holidays also."

But dishwasher Mandy Mathers said: "I rather work and earn money."

Auditor Natalie Chia said: "(I will) probably maximise the leave by taking weekend holidays, flying to places nearer to Southeast Asia to take a holiday."

Some are also looking at home for ideas on how to spend their breaks.

Hotels say they typically see a 10 to 15 per cent increase in the number of staycation guests during long weekends.

In reality, though, not everyone will get to enjoy the long weekend breaks, especially those in the service industry.

Human resource experts say companies should plan ahead to avoid manpower crunches, while allowing flexibility for employees.

Erman Tan, president of Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI), said: "For the employers, what they need to do is they have to plan ahead, they have to empathise with the situation now, where with modern life, the needs of the employees have changed.

"The needs of having a longer break become very crucial and it is also one of the important factors to keep the employees recharged, motivated.

"Of course, that implies that companies will have to be more careful in terms of allocating certain resources and recruiting part-time staff and also arranging the part-time and backup (staff) to help the current staff to mitigate the impact when people go on long weekend leave."

This is especially so for the retail and service industries, which need people around over the weekends. Experts say one idea is to ensure the seven long weekend breaks are given to different staff each time to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy them.