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How long is paternity and maternity leave in Singapore?

Becoming parents for the first time is an emotional roller-coaster of an experience. From having prenatal check-ups and choosing the delivery method to figuring out Singapore maternity leave laws and getting health insurance for your newborn child, there are heaps of things to prepare for. So it honestly doesn’t surprise us when parents are stressed and nervous. 

Luckily, Singapore is a city that protects basic employment rights. All employers are legally obligated to provide maternity and paternity leave so that new parents can spend quality time bonding with their infants. In this feature from Pacific Prime Singapore, we are going to highlight the various maternity and paternity leave schemes in Singapore.

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Current paid maternity leave in Singapore

Pregnant female employees are currently entitled to 12 or 16 weeks of maternity leaveIt is also important to note that if you are expecting twins or more at one time, this will still count as a single birth in terms of maternity leave in Singapore, and mothers won’t receive double maternity leaves.

The factors that determine the length of your maternity leave are whether:

  • Your child is a Singapore citizen;
  • You are legally married to the child’s father (only applicable for children born or have an estimated due date (EDD) before January 1st, 2017); and
  • You have worked for your employer or been self-employed for at least 90 days before your child’s birth.

To find out how long your maternity leave will be, you can easily use the maternity leave tool on the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) website

Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme

Is your child a Singapore citizen and you’ve worked for your employer for at least 90 days*? If so, you are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, to be taken up to four weeks before giving birth and 12 weeks post-birth. The last eight weeks of maternity leave can be flexible – you just need to work together with your employer to come up with a mutually acceptable plan.

You need to have given your employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave, and inform them as soon as possible of your delivery. Otherwise, you are only entitled to half the payment during maternity leave, unless you have a good enough reason for not giving the notice.

Both the employer and the government will be involved in paying employee’s salary on maternity leave. The employer will pay the first eight weeks, while the employer can claim reimbursement for salary payments from the government for the last eight weeks of maternity leave. For the third or subsequent birth, the employer can claim the full 16 weeks from the government.

If you’ve been self-employed for at least 90 days before the baby’s arrival, you can enjoy 16 weeks of maternity leave as long as you can prove that you have lost income during the maternity leave period. The net trade income, over the 12 months before the birth of her child, will be used to calculate the government reimbursement.

*Is your child born or has an EDD before January 1st, 2017? Note that you’ll only be entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if you’re legally married to the child’s father. Otherwise, you’ll only get 12 weeks of paid maternity leave – 8 weeks paid by the employer and 4 weeks unpaid. 

Note: Mothers who don’t qualify under the GMPL because of short-term employment contracts or expired employment contracts (this also includes self-employed mothers) can be covered by the Government Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB) scheme. The GPMB will cover expecting mothers who have been employed for at least 90 days within the 12 months preceding their child’s birth. 

Employment Act (EA) scheme

If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 90 days before the birth of your child – but your child isn’t a Singapore citizen, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave. One special exception is if your child becomes a Singapore citizen within 12 months of their birth, then you’ll be able to take any remaining maternity leave, including the GPML.

Unlike the GPML scheme, the government does not reimburse employers for salaries paid under the EA scheme. Employers are obliged to fund the first eight weeks of maternity leave, and the last four weeks may count as unpaid leave. Whether the employer will pay for the last four weeks depends on the terms of the employment contract between the employer and the employee.

But if you’ve been self-employed, then unfortunately, you won’t qualify for maternity leave under the EA scheme. Additionally, expecting mothers who don’t qualify for maternity leave under the EA include managers or executives who earn more than SGD $4,500 per month in basic salary, seafarers, domestic workers, or civil servants/statutory board employees. 

Note: Mothers who don’t qualify for the EA scheme (for whatever reason) may be covered under the Child Development Co-savings Act (CDCA), which has fewer conditions to be satisfied in order to be eligible for paid maternity leave. Revised in 2021, the act encourages married persons in Singapore to have more children and to make financial provisions for the development of children, amongst others. 

Current paid paternity leave in Singapore

All working dads, citizens, PRs, and foreigners are eligible for two weeks of paid paternity leave as long as they meet the following requirements:

  • The baby is a Singapore citizen;
  • The father has been married to a Singapore citizen between conception and birth; and
  • The father has worked for his employer for a continuous period of at least 90 days before the birth of the child. Alternatively, he has been self-employed for a continuous period of at least 90 days before the birth of the child, and has lost income during the paternity leave period.

Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL)

Your child must meet all the above criteria to be eligible for government-paid paternity leave. . Remember to declare your eligibility to your employer before you apply for GPPL through your company’s usual leave-taking procedures. If your child is not a Singapore citizen, you may check with your employer to see whether they can provide company-paid paternity leave. 

The GPPL can be taken continuously as a 2-week block within 16 weeks of your child’s birth. Alternatively, you can also take yours over the course of 12 months from the birth of your child. Government reimbursement is capped at SGD $2,500 per week, inclusive of CPF contributions.

Shared parental leave in Singapore

Working fathers, including self-employed ones, are entitled to share up to four weeks of his wife’s 16-week maternity leave (with her consent, of course) under the following conditions:

  • The baby is a Singapore citizen;
  • The child’s mother qualifies for Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML); and
  • The man has been lawfully married to the child’s mother.

Remember to give your employer at least one week’s notice beforehand, no matter what kind of parental leave in Singapore you apply for. For mothers-to-be, inform your employer as soon as possible of your delivery. Otherwise, you will be entitled to only half the payment during your maternity leave, unless you have a good reason for not giving notice.

Secure family health insurance via Pacific Prime Singapore today!

The parental benefits system in Singapore is indeed complicated, and the same goes for insurance for pregnant women and newborn babies. Secure maternity insurance today to offset the costs of the childbirth process, which can be incredibly expensive in a city known for its exorbitant cost of living!

If you are thinking about starting a family and securing insurance, you should know your insurance terms so you’re not caught off guard. For example, did you know that virtually all maternity insurance plans come with waiting periods that must elapse before you can file for claims. Check out our insightful maternity insurance guide for answers to all things maternity insurance or our infographic for five things you should know about maternity insurance!

With over 20 years of experience and 12 offices around the globe, Pacific Prime Singapore specializes in providing clients with insurance products that suit their needs. No matter where you are in the world, you should have access to the best medical treatment with international health insurance. Contact our team of expert insurance advisors today for impartial recommendations! Alternatively, check out our online quotation system for a free quote!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Anthony Chan is a content writer at Pacific Prime. He’s responsible for writing, translating, and editing articles, guides, infographics, leaflets, as well as other resources for Pacific Prime and Kwiksure.

When he’s not working, he’s usually on the hunt for great restaurants, playing badminton, and writing screenplays.