Chinese New Year Paid Holiday Dates Specified by Asia Governments

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By Anna Massoglia

Many employers throughout East Asia are required to provide employees with paid leave as part of recognizing the lunar new year in 2018.

The holiday, also known as Chinese New Year, is a celebration of the completion of the lunar calendar used throughout East and Southeast Asia. Countries and regions that require employers to provide workers with paid leave for the holiday include China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The holiday also is recognized in the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

Employers are mandated to provide paid leave in these countries and regions according to the following schedules:

China: Feb. 15 to Feb. 21 are paid days off; Saturday, Feb. 11, and Sunday, Feb. 24, become official work days. Employers who require employees to work during the holiday must pay three times normal wages.

Hong Kong: Feb. 16 to Feb. 19. The Lunar New Year in Hong Kong is set two days after the date of Lunar New Year’s Day that are closest to that date but that are not Sunday. Employers who require employees to work during the holiday must provide them with an alternative day off within 60 days of the holiday.

Indonesia: Feb. 16. Special overtime pay may be required. Overtime work by employees working six days a week and that falls during Indonesia’s statutory holidays must be compensated with two times the normal hourly wage for the first five hours of work, three times the normal hourly wage for the sixth hour of work, and four times the hourly wage for the seventh and eighth hour of overtime work.

Malaysia: Feb. 16 to Feb. 17. Overtime generally must be paid for work on holidays in Malaysia at two to three times ordinary wages.

Singapore: Feb. 16 to Feb. 17. The following work day becomes a holiday if an employee’s usual day of rest falls on Feb. 17. Employers who require employees to work during the holiday must pay twice their normal wages, although the employer may give compensatory time off to employees in managerial or executive positions. If a public holiday falls on an employee’s rest day, the next working day will be a paid holiday for that employee. An employee who is absent from work on the day before or after a holiday without the consent of the employer or without reasonable excuse generally is not required to be paid for the holiday.

Taiwan: Feb. 16. Employers who require employees to work during the holiday must pay twice their normal wages. It is customary to provide employees in Taiwan with a bonus payment around Chinese New Year.

Vietnam: Feb. 14 to Feb. 20. Employers who require employees to work during the lunar new year, also known in Vietnam as the Tet holiday, must pay three times normal wages. A customary lunar new year bonus, also known as a Tet bonus, is often paid to employees prior to their leaving for the lunar new year holiday in Vietnam. The amount of this bonus depends on both company and employee performance.

Other Recognition of the Lunar New Year

The lunar new year is also observed in some countries that do not require employers to provide employees with paid leave.

The following are countries and regions where the lunar new year is recognized through customary practice, as a special non-working holiday, or on a regional level:

Philippines: Feb. 14 is designated as a special non-working holiday, which means that it is not a paid holiday, but if employees do work on the day then they are entitled to 30 percent extra pay for the hours worked.

South Korea: Feb. 15 to Feb. 18. It is customary and may be required under collective bargaining agreements for South Korean businesses to close for the lunar new year, which is also known in South Korea as Seollal.

Thailand: According to the secretariat of the cabinet in Thailand, the four provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Satun, and Yala are the only areas in the country that recognize the first day of the lunar new year as an official holiday. Special overtime pay for workers in these provinces may be required. The other 72 provinces of Thailand and the capital city of Bangkok use a Thai calendar that celebrates the new year, known as Songkran Festival, in April. Employees that work on a holiday are entitled to twice the normal rate of pay.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Massoglia in Washington at amassoglia@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Baer at mbaer@bloombergtax.com

For More Information

The China General Office of the State Council's notice on paid holidays for 2018 is available, in Chinese, from the website of the Chinese Government Network.

The list of Hong Kong's holidays for 2018 is available, in Chinese, from the special administrative region's government.

Holidays in Indonesia for 2018 are available in a press release, in Indonesian, from the country’s Ministry of Administrative Reform and Bureaucratic Reform.

Philippine holidays for 2018 are available in a presidential proclamation in the country’s official gazette.

Singapore’s holiday calendar is available from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore.

Holidays in Taiwan are available in a press release, in Chinese, from the Taiwanese Ministry of Finance.

A list of holidays in Thailand is available, in Thai, from the Bank of Thailand.

Holidays in Vietnam for 2018 are available in Announcement No. 573 / TB-VPCP, in Vietnamese.

More information on payroll issues in countries and regions around the world is available in Bloomberg Tax's payroll primers in the International Payroll Decision Support Network.

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