HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Leave request rule


Dear HR Community Subscribers,

We want our employees to send a leave request form for approval at least two weeks in advance.

However, they are resisting this, citing reasons like childcare, etc.

Can the company force the two-week rule for leave requests?

We are in the marine industry.

Thank you for your advice and help in advance.




HR Poll: Can the company force the two-week rule for leave requests?

Yes: 15.38%

No: 61.54%

Maybe: 12.82%

Not sure: 10.26%




Only for non-emergency and longer leave but not for family emergencies - Ros

The organization may have such a ruling, this will help plan the schedule ahead as well as monitor that not the whole department is away, unless it's urgent. However, would suggest one week instead - Lynn

Hi Jing, you can include this requirement as part of the policy. I would say this practice is a norm especially when an employee plans to apply for a continuous number of days. However, there would be exceptional cases and that should not be penalised and considered as urgent requests. Regards, Sharon

Depends on Company policies - Kat

Nowadays not everyone can plan 2 weeks ahead and stick to the plan. But then, nobody would always take sudden leave for no reason. If your staff are taking last-minute leave too often, that points to an underlying problem for you to find out; you can counsel or issue a warning. I think 1 or 2 working days in advance to request for leave is good enough, and the person has a buddy who can take over during his/her absence, then I don't have a problem with it - Kelly

No- if it is not mentioned in the leave policy or contract. Maybe - encourage your staff to apply as early as possible - Delyn

Dear Jing, while it is HR's role to roll out policies, let us not forget that we also exist to handle the welfare of staff. Leave is an entitlement given to staff and not something that HR can try to 'police'. Given that the marine industry handles many employees and any last-minute leave requests would mean that employer finds it challenging to look for last-minute replacements. We should only encourage staff to plan out their leave throughout the year. However, there is sick leave, childcare leave which can't be planned. Just imagine if you are the one who is sick or your child is sick and needs care and attention? Can you actually plan that? Surely no so in the same way, what we want to apply to others, we apply to ourselves first. Best regards, Christina

The company has to understand the rationale behind giving childcare leave to parents, cases when they need to take leave urgently or not to attend to their children, or matters related. The company can explain to the employees the rationale behind this for employees to apply for planned leave 2 weeks ahead for better planning of manpower, but if they really failed to comply, they are allowed to explain with valid reasons as support to the company. This will act as deterrence and reduce the number of urgent or last-minute leave applications in the future - Carol

You can include this in the employee contract and employee handbook. However, at the end of the day, the bottom line would be the line managers and business. It's up to the line manager to approve "last minute" leave and the business is able to manage workload with employees on leave. There is no reason to deny it. Also, when it comes to childcare leave it is meant for childcare. No one is able to predict when their children will fall ill, was in close contact with positive COVID cases. Unless, it's pre-planned, medical appointments, closure of childcare centers, parent-teacher meetings, vacation, etc. Not forgetting that line managers need to be aligned with HR on this if you are facing challenges with line managers too - Erin

The two-week rule for leave requests is for planning purposes when an employee going for a longer leave of more than 5 working days. An exception should be made for urgent /emergency unplanned leave of not more than 3 days - Roz

Talk to employees, the reason for submitting the request 2 weeks in advance, e.g., need time to seek approvals from immediate and ultimate approvers and need time to plan resources. Do expect some emergency cases such as child sick - CCF

The company may have a real reason for the implementation of this rule but in reality, it may be hard to enforce due to every individual's circumstance - Michelle

This policy determines the norm. However, exceptions may be granted (such as MC, childcare) but these clearly remain as exceptions rather than the norm of this policy that you are trying to introduce - Fin

Our company also practices the guideline to apply for leave at least 2 weeks in advance (especially if the applied leave period is of several days and longer). This is a general guideline. However, if our employee needs to apply for a day's leave due to last-minute matters (e.g. urgent family matters), it is still permitted as this is considered as urgent leave. I think the bottom line is that the 2 weeks guideline helps the team/department to plan and function smoothly - Joan

Yes, for planned blocked leave but not for urgent leave, as long as no interruption to daily operation matter. - Ong



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