In a year with no travel, workers in Singapore make good use of paid leave.

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SINGAPORE – In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with leisure travel grinding to a halt, several workers in Singapore find themselves in the odd situation – perhaps for the first time – of not making full use of their annual leave.

While in other years these unused holiday days would have been washed out, some companies have allowed workers to carry over their leave days to the next year.

Others are yet to come up with other means to ensure that the paid leave days of their workers do not go to waste.

Employees contributed a combined 20,145 days of annual leave to student support and endowments at Nanyang Technological University.

The days of donated leave, courtesy of over 1,800 workers, are worth approximately $10.25 million. Each staff donated an average of 11 days of leave.

In 2020, OCBC Bank changed its leave strategy, allowing workers to go forward with extra days of leave until 2021.

Employees of the bank are normally allowed to carry on for seven days, but have been permitted to do so for 12 days in 2020, or have opted to cover up to five days of their annual leave.

In June last year, through the employee donation matching scheme of the company, the Singapore employees of tech giant Micron raised a total of $1.88 million.

This included both cash contributions and the swap for monetary donations of paid yearly leave.

Five charities, including The Food Bank Singapore, were dispersed with the collected funds.

In the meantime, civil servants were given a longer period of time this year to clear up their unused leave and the option of encashing part of it.

The groundbreaking move allows some 85,000 civil servants, if the leave is not used before the end of 2020, to carry forward half of their annual leave from 2019 to 2021.

Usually, the unused leave of civil servants from a previous year will be forfeited, meaning that the leave days of 2019 may have only been carried forward through 2020, but not 2021.

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