HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Foreign worker home leave


Dear HR Community,

We have an employee who went back home to India on 15 March 2020.

And due to COVID-19, he is unable to return to work with us.

So we gave him permission to work from home. But he claimed that he was unable to do so due to issues with the internet.

He then informed us that he wished to be on annual leave from 26 May until he is able to return to Singapore and continue his employment.

Since he had only four days of annual leave left, do we consider him to be on unpaid leave now?

Has anyone faced such issues with foreign workers?

Thank you for your replies







Dear Kim

This is what I suggest.

1. Deduct the annual leave that still exists or entitled to.

2. After the annual leave, the employee will be no pay leave.

3. Pay the levy if applicable until his return.

Hope this helps.





Hi Kim

We have the same issue as you.

One of our colleagues on a work permit went for a holiday and was unable to return to Singapore due to the new MOM and immigration policies implemented in March.

We put her on unpaid leave as she has also used up her annual leave.

In addition, this is what we did:

1. Calculated her annual leave entitlement up to February, since March was considered an incomplete month already and used it to offset her absence for that period.

2. Considered her to be on unpaid leave from March.

3. If and when she returns, we will recalculate leave entitlement for the year minus the unpaid leave and prorate her annual wage supplement (AWS) for 2020.

Some other considerations are:

1. The risk that she does not return to work and we are unable to contact her. If this is the case we are liable for her tax and after discussion with the management, we are prepared for it.

2. The foreign worker levy (FWL) payments are continuing. For this, there are waivers and rebates provided recently and more by application up to 60 days until her return.

We are not sure if our arrangement is good, but that’s the best we can do for our colleague to help her keep her job in Singapore.

In the meantime, she has permission to find part-time work back home.

Best Regards




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