The Full Guide to Paternity and Childcare Leave in Singapore

paternity and childcare leave
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With new developments in paternity rights in Singapore, what exactly should working fathers be granted by their company when they start a family? And what are the latest updates to the childcare leave entitlements for expecting parents? 

Here’s a skinny summary of the different entitlements:

Paternity LeaveChildcare Leave
2 weeks6 days2 days

In this article, we will be explaining in greater detail the various entitlements under the paternity and childcare benefits provided by the Ministry of Manpower. For information on maternity leave in Singapore, check out our other explanatory guide here:

The Full Guide to Maternity Leave

How does maternity leave in Singapore work? Here’s a breakdown of it all, from the number of leave days to the eligibility requirements.

Paternity Leave

Both Singaporean and non-Singaporean working fathers are entitled to Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL). A working father, by official statutory definition in Singapore, either:

  • Works for an employer; or
  • Has been self-employed for a continuous period of at least 3 months before the birth of his child.

He may be entitled to 2 weeks of GPPL provided under:

His GPPL entitlement per week depends on his number of working days in a week. Each week is capped at $2,500, including Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions. 

Eligibility for Paternity Leave

For a father of biological children, he is entitled to 2 weeks of GPPL based on the following circumstances:

For fathers of adopted children, they are entitled to paid paternity leave if the child is adopted within 1 year of the date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt”.

The date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt” refers to:

For children who are Singaporean CitizensFor children who are not yet Singaporean Citizens
The date when an application to adopt the child is first made to the court.The date when the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) approves the child’s Dependant’s Pass.

The adopted child must also:

  • Be a Singapore citizen from birth; or 
  • Be a Singapore citizen within 6 months of the date of adoption. However, the adoptive father or mother must also be a Singapore citizen on the date that the child’s Dependant’s Pass is issued.

Finally, unless the date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt” is on or after 1 January 2017, the adoptive parent(s) also have to be married before or on the date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt”.

Other considerations for the working father

  1. If an employed father leaves his job (whether by choice or otherwise) after his child is born before fully using his GPPL, he cannot transfer his GPPL entitlement to any new employer.
  2. Employed fathers on probation at work will still be eligible for GPPL as long as they have worked for a continuous period of at least 3 months preceding the birth of their child
  3. Full-time National Servicemen should check with Mindef or their superior officer before taking Paternity Leave as it mostly applies to company employees and the self-employed.

Tips on planning leave dates

A working father can take his leave in the default manner, or he can take it flexibly subject to mutual agreement between him and his employer.

Arrangement2 weeks GPPL
By default, without any mutual agreement.Take 2 continuous weeks within 16 weeks after the birth of the child.
Flexibly, by mutual agreement.Take 2 continuous weeks any time within 12 months after the birth of the child.Split the 2 weeks into working days and take them in any combination within 12 months after the birth of the child

So, how does a working father know how many leave days he is entitled to depending on his number of working days per week? The calculation of number of leave days is as follows:

* Capped at 6 working days per week

Additional Leave Arrangements

In addition to paid paternity leave, an employed father may, with his wife’s agreement, use up to 4 weeks of her paid maternity leave. This is known as shared parental leave. 

4-week shared parental leave is only available to parents of children born from 1 July 2017 onwards. Shared parental leave taken by employed fathers is capped at $2,500 per week, including CPF contributions, and for a maximum of 6 days per week.

For an employed father to be eligible for shared parental leave,

  • The child’s mother must be entitled to paid maternity leave;
  • The child must be a Singapore citizen; and
  • The employed father qualifies for paid paternity leave.

A working father can take his shared parental leave as follows:

Arrangement4 weeks Shared Leave
By default, without any mutual agreement.Take a continuous period of 4 weeks within 12 months of their children’s birth (or adoption)
Flexibly, by mutual agreement.Take any combination of leave which adds up to 4 weeks within 12 months of his child’s birth (or adoption).

Conditions for applying for paternity leave

A working father will need to give his employer an early notice before going on paternity leave. This allows his employer time to verify his eligibility and make alternative work arrangements.

He should reach an agreement with the employer on how and when he intends to take the leave as well.

Employer’s obligation(s)

As an employer, you do not want to deny employed fathers of their paid paternity leave entitlement without reasonable cause. After all, you may be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to 6 months. Furthermore, these penalties can increase to fines of up to $10,000 and jail terms of up to 12 months for repeat offenders.

You should also be particularly careful not to breach their paid paternity leave obligations due to the negative publicity which may result.

Childcare Leave

Eligible working parents of either Singaporean or non-Singaporean children are entitled to paid childcare leave. A working parent, 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).

The parent may be entitled to either 2 or 6 days of paid childcare leave, of which are provided under:

Full-time Employees: Eligibility for childcare leave extension

The parent is eligible for 2 days of extended childcare leave per year if:

  • The youngest child is between 7 and 12 years old (inclusive).
  • The child is a Singapore citizen.
  • The parent has worked for his/her employer or is self-employed for at least 3 continuous months.

These 2 days will be paid for by the Government, capped at $500 per day, including CPF contributions. Extended childcare leave is not pro-rated.

Note: For parents with children below 7 years as well as between 7 and 12 years, the total paid child care leave for each parent is still a maximum of 6 days per year.

Part-time Employees: Differing entitlements based on eligibility

The child is:Calculation for childcare leave entitlement 
A Singapore CitizenNote: The leave should be adjusted based on the number of working hours so that it is equivalent to that of a full-time employee, subject to a minimum of 2 days.
Not a Singapore Citizen

Part-time Employees: Eligibility for childcare leave extension

If the parent is a part-time employee, the extended childcare leave entitlement will be as follows:

E.g. If one works for 4 hours per day, the extended childcare leave entitlement will be 8 hours.

Other Considerations for the Parent

  • Regardless of the number of children who qualify, childcare leave that is capped remains the same.
  • Children who qualify also include legally adopted children or step-children.
  • If the parent is entitled to 6 days of childcare leave a year, he/she can get pro-rated childcare leave if he/she has worked less than a year or if the parent plans to leave his/her employer this year.
    1. If the parent has worked for less than a year, the employer may pro-rate his/her childcare leave based on the duration of your employment, subject to a minimum of 2 days.
Completed months of serviceEligible days of childcare leave
0-2Not eligible
  • If the parent has worked for the employer for at least 3 months before leaving, his/her childcare leave will be pro-rated based on the completed months of service in the year of resignation or termination.
Completed months of service in the year of resignation or terminationEligible days of childcare leave
0 to 2Not eligible

Conditions for childcare leave application

  1. When taking child care leave, the parent has full flexibility to use his/her leave to spend time with the child, (e.g. to accompany the child on the first day of school) and does not need to produce a medical certificate for the child. The parent should give early notice to his/her employer to take childcare leave and they should mutually agree on a suitable time to take the leave.
  2. The employer is strongly encouraged to grant the leave for matters that cannot be postponed, such as child immunisation or school registration.
  3. However, some restrictions apply to childcare leave. The parent cannot transfer childcare leave between spouses, encash,  carry over unused childcare leave to a new company or use childcare leave to offset the notice period for termination of employment.

Manage your employees’ paternity and childcare leave with ease in the Talenox Leave module

With many different leave entitlements, it can get confusing having to manually calculate them. The Talenox Leave module calculates and accommodates for more than one leave type, whether it’s paternity leave, childcare 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.

Tell me more about the Talenox Leave module

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