HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Deferring compassionate leave


Dear HR Community

I have a colleague whose father passed away recently in the Philippines.

According to our compassionate leave policy, he is entitled to five days of compassionate leave from the date of the demise.

However, he is unable to fly home for the bereavement due to the current COVID-19 situation here and has requested that he defers his compassionate leave to the end of June.

Please advise if we should consider his request.

Thank you so much and hope everyone is safe and healthy.

Best Regards




Dear Karen

Deferring any type of leave is at the discretion of the department and HR, and the supervisor may need to consider if the timing will affect any work deadline or alternative work arrangement required, etc.

Although SG law does not mandate compulsory compassionate leave, given the COVID-19 exceptional circumstances, the Company should show care and concern to the grieving employee, especially for those with families abroad. Even a delayed bereavement can bring closure and the employee will appreciate the Company's gesture.

Though, it has to be made clear that this exception only applies because of the COVID-19 situation, to avoid abuse of the policy.

Rai Hanah



Hi Karen

Due to the extenuating COVID-19 situation, the company should extend some flexibility to policies to adapt to the situation. Since he is not able to return to the Philippines due to the external factors, then the company can consider letting him defer his compassionate leave. In fact, my company practises flexibility for our staff to take all their compassionate leave within one month as some religions have rites on non-consecutive days.

Thank you.

Best regards




Absolutely - when he is finally able to travel he will likely want to go home and pay his respects anyway.




Dear Karen,

We are living in unprecedented times so, in many ways, we are living in a new normal and coping with the coronavirus crisis differently. In coping with this crisis, many of us have been working from home or with minimised interaction with our co-workers in person. We realise we have to adapt much, to learn to do things differently.

This pandemic has given rise to much anxiety in people in one way or another. Our co-workers are likely to suffer in ways that we do not see or necessarily understand. Imagine your co-worker like anyone else coping with the crisis and on top of it, receiving the sad piece of news about his father's passing. One way is simply to place oneself in the shoe of another person, to imagine the pain of not being able to be with your loved ones at the funeral.

If HR is in a position to recommend the next course of action, the management should see how co-workers are not just a number. The least the management can do is to grant the deferment of leave. It will help this co-worker know that the employer understands the sense of loss and the need for him to spend time with his family although it would be on a delayed basis by the time it takes effect.

It is always good to lean towards compassion, empathy and kindness. HR which upholds policies may come across as very bureaucratic. So use every opportunity to make recommendations with a more human touch.




Yes of course.

Given the current situation, we will allow deferring.  But put a time frame by when he has to clear it.
His request till end June is a reasonable request.




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