Maternity Leave in Singapore 2023: A Guide for Expecting Mothers
Welcoming a new life into the world is a transformative experience for expecting mothers. Maternity leave plays a crucial role during this period, offering much-needed support for mothers to recover from delivery and caring for their newborn child. Over the years, maternity leave policies in Singapore have evolved to provide more assistance to working mothers.
Mothers working in Singapore who give birth to Singaporean and non-Singaporean children are entitled to paid maternity leave after their child’s birth in Singapore. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand your leave entitlements.
Your child is a Singapore Citizen:
Q) Who is entitled to government-paid maternity leave (GPML) in Singapore?
- Your child is a Singapore citizen at birth or becomes a Singapore citizen within 12 months from your child’s date of birth (inclusive of date of birth).
- Employees: You have served your employer for a continuous period of at least 3 months before your child's date of birth, and are covered under the Employment Act.
- Self-Employed Persons: You have been engaged in a particular trade, business, profession or vocation for a continuous period of at least 3 months before your child’s date of birth, and have lost income from ceasing to be actively engaged during your maternity leave.
Q) How long is maternity leave?
You are eligible for 16 weeks of GPML.
- GPML can be taken from 4 weeks before the child's date of birth or
- Taken no later than the child’s date of birth.
16- weeks continuously vs non-continuously
- GPML can be taken for 16 weeks continuously or
- First 8 weeks taken in one continuous block + Remaining 8 weeks taken non-continuously with mutual agreement between employer and employee. The end date of GPML must be no later than 12 months from child’s date of birth
Q) How much salary will I receive during my maternity leave?
Your employer will pay you your usual monthly salary during the 16 weeks of GPML.
- For your 1st & 2nd child order: Your employer will pay for the 1st to 8th week of your GPML, at your gross rate of pay; and the Government will reimburse your employer for the 9th to 16th week of your GPML, capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or a total of $20,000 per child order.
- For your 3rd and subsequent child order: The Government will reimburse your employer for all 16 weeks of your GPML, capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or a total of $40,000 per child order.
Q) How is maternity leave paid?
You will receive your salary from your employer, as the government reimburses your employer and not directly to you.
For Self-Employed Persons
The government will reimburse you based on the bank information that you provided in your Government-Paid Leave (GPL) Portal claim submission.
Q) How do I apply for maternity leave?
- You should give your employer at least 1 week's notice before going on maternity leave. Otherwise, you are only entitled to half the payment during maternity leave, unless you have a good enough reason for not giving the notice.
- Submit the declaration form (GPML) to your employer with all necessary supporting documents. Your employer may use its own declaration form or system for you to declare your eligibility.
- Apply for GPML according to your employer’s leave application procedures.
- Tip: Important documents that you need to provide include your child’s birth certificate.
For Self-Employed Persons
- Record your GPML dates
- Submit your claim online via the Government-Paid Leave (GPL) Portal no later than 3 months after the date of your GPML
- Tip: Important documents that you need to provide include your child’s birth certificate and your latest Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
Q) Can I share my maternity leave with my husband?
The Shared Parental Leave (SPL) scheme allows eligible working fathers to enjoy up to 4 weeks of leave by utilizing their wife’s GPML. Both husband and wife must be legally married and have to mutually agree to this and apply for it together.
Your child is a Non-Singapore Citizen:
For mothers of non-Singaporean children born in Singapore, you are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if you meet the following requirements:
- You are covered by the Employment Act
- You have served your employer for a continuous period of at least 3 months immediately before the birth of your child.
Your employer will pay your usual monthly salary for the first 8 weeks of leave if:
- You have fewer than 2 living children of your own at the time of delivery.
- You have given your employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave and informed 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.
The last 4 weeks of maternity leave are unpaid. Whether your employer pays you during the last 4 weeks of maternity leave depends on your employment contract.
Other frequently asked questions about GPML
Q) I’m a Singapore Permanent Resident/foreigner, am I eligible for maternity leave?
As a foreigner or permanent resident, you are eligible for GPML as long as your child is a Singapore citizen and you meet the other eligibility criteria.
Q) I am giving birth to twins/triplets, am I eligible for longer maternity leave?
Birth to twins or triplets will be treated as a single delivery, and there will be no extra days granted to your maternity leave.
Q) I am not legally married to my child’s father, am I eligible for maternity leave?
Yes, you are entitled to up to 16 weeks of maternity leave if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Q) I had a stillbirth, am I eligible for maternity leave?
You are eligible for full maternity leave if the child is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. If you meet the eligibility criteria under GPML, the stillbirth will be counted for maternity leave benefits for the next delivery. Otherwise, stillbirth will not be counted in determining your eligibility for maternity leave benefits for the next delivery.
Q) I had an abortion/miscarriage, am I eligible for maternity leave?
If you’re still working, you can take sick leave to recover. However, you are not eligible for maternity leave.
Q) I work part-time/contract/temporary, am I eligible for maternity leave?
You are entitled to GPML if you meet the eligibility criteria mentioned above. Payment is based on the number of days you are contracted to work, at your gross rate of pay.
Q) I’m adopting a child, am I eligible for maternity leave?
You are not eligible for GPML. Check your eligibility for Adoption Leave here.
Q) Can I choose not to take the full period of maternity leave?
Maternity leave is meant for mothers to recuperate and spend time with their newborns. You are encouraged to use your full maternity leave entitlement. If you choose not to take your full entitlement, any unused maternity leave will be forfeited.
Q) Can I claim maternity leave payment from more than one employer?
You can do so if you are employed by more than one company simultaneously.
Q) Does maternity leave include rest days and Public holidays?
For practical purposes, maternity leave, when taken in a block period, includes any non-working days, rest days and public holidays which fall during that period.
The 16 weeks of maternity leave is equivalent to 112 days (7 days a week x 16 weeks) and the 112 days of maternity leave would include rest days, off days and public holidays.
If a flexible maternity leave arrangement has been agreed upon, the maternity leave would be computed based on working days and would be in addition to non-working days, rest days and public holidays.
The number of days of flexible maternity leave the employee is entitled should be equal to the number of working days she would be away from work if she were to consume the extended leave in a block.
Q) If I resign while I’m on maternity leave, can I use the leave period to shorten my resignation notice?
No. You cannot use your maternity leave to shorten your notice period. However, you can use your maternity leave during the notice period. The period when you are on maternity leave will count towards your service of the notice period. All maternity leave not used before your last day of employment will be forfeited.
Q) If I change jobs before I complete my maternity leave, can I carry over the balance to my new company?
No. If you switch jobs before completing your maternity leave, you won’t be able to transfer any unused leave to your new company.
Q) What happens if my company does not want to grant me maternity leave?
You can make a maternity leave claim against your employer via the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADA) here.
Know your employment rights!
By being aware of the duration, eligibility criteria, and application process, you can confidently plan for your maternity leave. Remember to consider financial aspects, explore available benefits, and establish effective communication with your employer and colleagues.
As you embark on your motherhood journey, know that you have the support and protection necessary to balance work and family life. By staying informed and empowered, you can make the most of your maternity leave experience in Singapore. More information on support for working parents in Singapore can be found on the MSF’s website here.
Start preparing for your baby!
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