What Employers Should Know About the Family Care Leave
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What Employers Should Know About the Family Care Leave

Posted on 1 Nov 2021 in Business | Gabriel Chua


Establishing a family-friendly environment within workplaces is important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. According to Mercer, initiatives like family care leave don’t only give both genders the ability to care for their families but are also valuable tools for attracting and retaining talent. [1]

To help the working parents to manage their priorities between work and family, the Singapore Government has established extensive policies on family care leave, giving an opportunity for all families to stay together when it matters most.

To help the working parents to manage their priorities between work and family, the Singapore Government has established extensive policies on family care leave, giving an opportunity for all families to stay together when it matters most.

Singapore's family care leave is in accordance with the Child Development Co-Savings Act, depending on specific criterias. To know more about these criterias, here are the terms and conditions that fall under the family care leave entitlement in Singapore.

Child Care Leave and Parental Leave

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Employees can apply for childcare leave or parental leave when the need arises to look after their children. For instance, when their child gets sick or if they need to bring their children to the first day of school, and other situations.

The Child Development Co-Savings Act covers all parents who are Singapore citizens in which they're entitled to 6 days of paid childcare leave per year. Take note that employees may be entitled to 2 days of extended childcare leave per year if their youngest child is in primary school.

On the other hand, eligible working fathers (including self-employed) are entitled to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave. The Government Paid Parental Leave (GPPL) entitlement per week depends on the number of the employee's working days in a week.

Eligibility for childcare leave and paternity leave can be granted if all of the following statements are met:

  • The child is a Singapore citizen.
  • The child is below 7 years old (excluded for paternity leave).
  • The youngest child is between 7 and 12 years old (inclusive for extended childcare leave).
  • The parents have worked for their employer or have been self-employed for at least 3 continuous months.
  • The parents are lawfully married. This includes parents who are divorced or widowed.

Here are some important reminders about childcare leave and parental leave:

  • Adoptive fathers who meet the mentioned requirements are also entitled to GPPL.
  • The childcare leave can be prorated based on the duration of the employment, subject to a minimum of 2 days. Employees can still get pro-rated childcare leave even if they've worked less than a year or if they have plans to leave their employer this year.
  • For part-time, temporary, contract, and probationary employees, childcare leave entitlement is adjusted based on the working hours.
  • If an employee has worked for his/her employer for at least 3 months before leaving, the childcare leave will be prorated based on the completed months of service in the year of the resignation or termination.
  • If the child isn’t a Singapore citizen, it would be two days of paid childcare leave per year. Take note that the 2 days of childcare leave cannot be pro-rated as well.

Employees may also use this childcare leave calculator to check how much leave they're entitled to.

Shared Parental Leave

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Shared parental leave is important to help employees take care of their families without sacrificing their job, eliminating the struggle of choosing between family and work.

A working father can apply to share up to 4 weeks of his wife’s 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML), subject to the wife’s agreement.

If the citizen child is born or has an estimated delivery date (EDD) on or after July 1, 2017, the employee is entitled to take up to 4 weeks of shared parental leave.

If the citizen child is born or has an EDD before July 1, 2017, the employee will be entitled to 1 week of shared parental leave.

Here are some of the recent amendments to the Child Development Co-Savings Act:

  • Working parents of stillborn babies will qualify for government-paid benefits, including maternity leave, paternity leave and shared parental leave. This applies to employees whose stillborn child would have been a Singaporean. [2]
  • Working couples can take up to nearly 20 weeks of paid parental leave in a child’s first year, comprising 16 weeks of maternity leave, two weeks of paternity leave as well as six days of childcare leave per parent. [3]

There were also some changes made for working fathers and adoptive mothers who previously didn’t qualify for paternity leave or adoption leave due to their employment arrangements. [3]

  • Working couples who are on multiple short-term contracts or had their contracts expire shortly before the birth or adoption of their child can be eligible for paternity leave.
  • Currently, mothers on short-term contracts and who aren’t eligible for maternity leave can receive cash benefits instead. The cash benefits will be extended to working fathers and adoptive mothers as well.
  • It'll be calculated based on the average income earned in the 12 months before the child was born or adopted. As such, parents who work for longer periods will receive a higher benefit.
  • Adoptive parents are also eligible if their application to adopt a child is submitted to the court on or after January 1, 2021. In the case of a foreign child, the authorities will refer to the date on which the dependent’s pass is issued.
  • Those eligible – estimated to number about 500 – may apply only from December 1, 2021.
  • Those who may have started their paternal leave but couldn’t consume all of it before their contract expired will be able to get cash benefits from the Government for the remaining Government-paid portion of the leave.

This will also be allowed for retrenched parents who didn’t manage to take their leave.

  • There are now provisions to also give the Government the discretion to reimburse employers if they grant paid maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave, although their employees haven’t worked for at least three months continuously before their child is born or adopted.

The generous changes are made to recognise the value of having "progressive employers" in helping the working parents, especially those who are new to their companies.

Maternity Leave

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Working mothers (including self-employed) can enjoy maternity leave benefits under the Government Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme. This will help provide sufficient time to recover from childbirth and to take care of newborns.

Working mothers will be entitled to either 16 weeks of GMPL or 12 weeks of maternity leave, depending on the following criteria:

  • The child is a Singaporean citizen.
  • The mother is legally married to the child’s father.
  • The child is born or has an estimated delivery date (EDD) on or after 1 January 2017.
  • The mother has worked for her employer or has been self-employed for at least 3 continuous months before the birth of her child.

Here are some important reminders about maternity leave:

  • Working mothers who qualify for the GPML scheme can share part of their leave benefits with their husbands under the Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme.
  • Employees may start their maternity leave 4 weeks before the delivery date and no later than the delivery date. All maternity leave must be taken within 12 months from the child's inclusive of date of birth.
  • The first 8 weeks of maternity leave must be taken in one continuous block (including weekends and public holidays). The last 8 weeks can be taken flexibly if there’s a mutual agreement between the employer and the employee.
  • Employees aren’t allowed to use their maternity leave to offset the notice period when they leave their job.
  • The maternity leave entitlements may be affected in different situations, such as the birth of twins, birth to a single mother or premature birth. [4]
  • There are also restrictions on using the leave. For instance, employees aren’t allowed to transfer their leave to their spouse or encash their unused leave. [5]

Employees may also use this maternity leave calculator to better plan for their maternity leave dates.

How to Apply for Family Care Leave in Singapore

To apply for family care leave, employees may download and fill in the application form from the Government-Paid Leave Portal, before submitting it along with the required supporting documents. Those who are self-employed may submit their claim directly via the portal.

Using QuickHR’s All-Inclusive Leave Management System

Supervising leave applications are made easier with QuickHR’s fool-proof leave management system where appropriate managers will have a multi-tiered approval system. They'll automatically get notified of leave requests and approve or decline them in an instant.

QuickHR’s leave management system is interconnected with multiple HR modules such as payroll, attendance and timesheets, claims, and performance evaluation, helping businesses to build solid HR strategy with automated, streamlined, and accurate HR processes.

A simple and easy-to-use solution, QuickHR ensures that leave applications are processed accordingly along with accurate calculation of wages, based on varied shift plans as well as flexible overtime computation and automated incentives for punctuality.

QuickHR also simplifies multiple paid leave distributions for full-time, part-time, and freelance employees with different pay periods.

Moreover, annual/monthly leave reports are presented in analytical graphs or on spreadsheets, making it easier to keep track of the employee's leave status.

With flexible and multi-functional settings, QuickHR will be fully compatible with the early business needs and the long-term demands of an organisation. If you want to know more about it, you may request a free demo with absolutely no terms and conditions!

Once again, we hope that you've enjoyed a good read. And remember, Think Now, Think Far, Think QuickHR.

* Get in touch with us at quickhr.co/contact-us to find out more about our state-of-the-art HRMS solution!

Sources

  • [1] https://www.mercer.com/our-thinking/family-care-leave-trends-infographic.html
  • [2] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/retrenched-parents-and-those-stillborn-babies-benefit-government-paid-leave-benefits-2083781
  • [3] https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/bill-passed-help-more-parents-benefit-pro-family-policies-workplace
  • [4] https://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/leave/maternity-leave/leave-in-special-situations
  • [5] https://www.mom.gov.sg/employment-practices/leave/childcare-leave/taking-childcare-leave

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