The Full Guide To Maternity Leave in Singapore 2022

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Editor’s Note: ‘The Full Guide to Maternity Leave in Singapore‘ was written on 8 Oct 2020 by Hern Yee, Wong and updated on 21 Apr 2022 by Ruth Schooling.

The journey into motherhood is no easy feat. There are many considerations to make to ensure women begin their journey feeling supported and well-resourced. Thankfully, in Singapore, we have laws that can help ease part of the transition into this new phase of life, for both employers and employees.

Maternity leave is critical for working women to recover from pregnancy and childbirth, no matter what circumstances they may find themselves in.

Keeping in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic adds to the obstacles faced by pregnant and parenting women, emphasising the importance of paid leave and government schemes. 

Government Paid Maternity Leave (GPML)

Both Singaporean and non-Singaporean working mothers are entitled to paid maternity leave after the birth of her child in Singapore. A working mother, by official statutory definition in Singapore, either:

  • Works for an employer; or
  • Has been self-employed for at least 3 continuous months before the birth of her child (i.e. covered by the Employment Act).

She may be entitled to either 16 or 12 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave, of which are provided under:

She can start her maternity leave 4 weeks before the delivery date, as well as no later than the delivery date. Also, she can only take maternity leave within 12 months from her child’s date of birth, including the date of birth.

Differing entitlements based on eligibility

If her child is a Singaporean, she is entitled to the following period of maternity leave. This is based on the following circumstances and in accordance with the Child Development Co-Savings Act.

*Table to be read top-down. E.g. Yes, Yes = 16 Weeks

She is legally married to the child’s father.YesNoYesNo
Her child is born or has an estimated delivery date (EDD) on or after 1 January 2017.YesYesNoNo
Period of Entitlement (Weeks)16161612
  • For her 1st and 2nd child, the Government will pay for the 9th to 16th week of her maternity leave, capped at $20,000 per child.
  • For her 3rd and subsequent child, the Government will pay for all 16 weeks of her maternity leave, capped at $40,000 per child.

What if her child is adopted or born outside of Singapore? The child would then be considered a non-Singaporean. In this case, the employee is entitled to the following period of maternity leave.

She is legally married to the child’s father.YesNoYesNo
Her child is born or has estimated delivery date (EDD) on or after 1 January 2017.YesYesNoNo
Period of Entitlement (Weeks)12121212

The eligibility and entitlements above exclude stepchildren and children adopted out before the date of the child’s birth or FIA (i.e. formal intent to adopt), for both Singaporean and non-Singaporean children.

Mothers with stillborn children, however, who would have been a Singapore citizen may still qualify for GPML, as long her circumstance meets the requirements. If she does not meet GPML eligibility criteria, she may qualify for benefits under the Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB) scheme.

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Other considerations for the working mother

  1. Birth to twins or triplets will be treated as a single delivery. The employer will not need to provide double maternity benefits. 
  2. For premature births, her maternity leave should start on the birth date of her child, or earlier if she has a mutual agreement with her employer.
  3. When a working mother falls ill during her maternity leave, she is not entitled to paid sick leave during that period of time.

Find out how much maternity leave you are entitled to in each of these, and other unique scenarios, here.

Conditions for applying for Government Paid Maternity Leave in Singapore

Employed Working Mothers

The working mother will need to give her employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave and inform them as soon as possible of her delivery. Otherwise, she is only entitled to half the payment during maternity leave; unless she has a good enough reason for not giving the notice in time. In addition, she should reach an agreement with the employer on how and when she intends to take the leave as well.

Thereafter, she will need to submit the declaration form (GPML1) to her employer with all the necessary supporting documents. As her employer, you may use your own declaration form or system to declare your eligibility, which you will need to inform her of.

From there, she can proceed to apply for maternity leave according to the company’s leave application procedures.

Self-employed Working Mothers

In this case, the Government will reimburse her for the days she is on maternity leave (up to 8 weeks for 1st and 2nd child order and 16 weeks for 3rd child order onwards). This will be calculated based on her Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).

She will therefore need to carry out the following steps:

  1. Record and keep a personal log of her maternity leave dates.
  2. Submit her claim online via the Government-Paid Leave (GPL) Portal no later than 3 months after the last date of her maternity leave taken.
  3. Log in to GPL Portal to check her application status. A notification will be sent to her once her application is processed. It’ll be good to take note of the service standards for the processing time at the step, which is to expect a processing time of 14 weeks from the day of receipt of all required information.

Employer’s obligation(s) to maternity leave in Singapore

As an employer, you will need to notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) if your employee is pregnant – Singaporean or Non-Singaporean. In addition, do take note that it is an offence in Singapore for an employer to dismiss an employee while she is on maternity leave.

Nevertheless, you will need to pay her usual monthly salary during the leave period. In addition, you may not ask said employee to work during the first 4 weeks of her confinement. Rest assured that you can claim reimbursement from the Government in accordance with the Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme:

BirthsPaid by employerReimbursed by Government
First and secondFirst 8 weeksLast 8 weeks
Third and subsequentAll 16 weeks

Voluntary Leave Support from Employers

In addition, with the passing of the Child Development Co-Savings (Amendment) Bill on Monday, August 2, 2021, employers who voluntarily provide leave to employees who do not meet the three-month employment requirement for parental leave plans will also be reimbursed.

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To apply, claim reimbursement or submit a declaration form (GPML 1), you can contact any of the following:

Tips on planning leave dates

A working mom has the option of taking her maternity leave either in one block or spread out over twelve months. She can work out an arrangement with her employer that suits both their needs, perhaps based on one of the following considerations:

Arrangement16 weeks12 weeks
By default
Includes non-working days, rest days and public holidays.
Take the 16 weeks continuously, starting 4 weeks before delivery.Take the 12 weeks continuously, starting 4 weeks before delivery.
By mutual agreement
Includes non-working days, rest days and public holidays.
Start anytime within 4 weeks before delivery.

Example: If the expected date of delivery is 7 July, you can start your leave between 9 June and 7 July.
You must take the first 8 weeks in one continuous stretch.You can take the last 8 weeks flexibly over 12 months from your child’s birth.
Start anytime within 4 weeks before delivery.

Example: If the expected date of delivery is 7 July, you can start your leave between 9 June and 7 July.
You must take the first 8 weeks in one continuous stretch.You can take the last 4 weeks flexibly over 12 months from your child’s birth.
Flexible leave calculation
Doesn’t include non-working days, rest days and public holidays.
8 weeks x the number of working days in the week, capped at 48 working days.4 weeks x the number of working days in the week, capped at 24 working days.
For a 16-week entitlement, you can flexibly calculate maternity as such:

If the employee worked 5 days in a week, she can flexibly take the following number of maternity leave days: 8 weeks x 5 days = 40 working days

Alternatively, should the employee decide to take 2 days of maternity leave per week, the 40 days of flexible maternity leave can be consumed in 20 weeks: 40 days / 2 maternity leave days per week = 20 weeks

Both the employer and the employee should also agree on the possible situations that may arise from taking the leave flexibly. For example:

  • How her work performance will be assessed.
  • Whether she can go back to taking the maternity leave as a continuous block.
  • Whether she can bring forward her flexible leave should she resign.

Bonus Tip: Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB)

For working or self-employed mothers who are ineligible for any of the government-paid maternity leave schemes above, they may apply for government-paid maternity benefits instead.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have worked for at least 90 days in the 12 months preceding your pregnancy. If you worked at various places and/or were self-employed for a period of 12 months prior to giving birth, the total duration of your employment periods should add up to meet the 90-day minimum employment requirement.

The eligible Maternity Benefit is equal to the portion of the Government-Paid Maternity Leave that is paid by the government (equivalent to eight weeks for the first and second child orders, and 16 weeks for the third and subsequent child orders).

Read more on the eligibility requirements for GPMB, here. 

Manage your employees’ maternity leave with ease in the Talenox Leave module

The Talenox Leave module calculates and accommodates for more than one leave type, whether it’s maternity leave, sick leave, or public holidays. You may also define and set time off entitlements for individual employees.

In fact, we have preset country-specific holidays and time-off benefits into our HR system, so you don’t have to manually calculate them; this ensures your business is in accordance with employment standards. You can also create and edit more leave types and holidays to suit your company’s time-off policy.

What about the other Leave Types for expecting parents?

Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with how Maternity Leave in Singapore works, stay tuned for our coverage on how the other leave types work in Singapore – namely Paternity Leave and Childcare Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave.

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