Get to Know Singapore's Maternity Leave Policy

by Emma • Fri, 22 Jul 2022 12:17PM
Singapore Maternity Leave Policy

Over the previous ten years, Singapore's resident female employment rate has improved, rising from 54% in 2010 to 57.7% in 2020, according to CNA. The same source reports Minister of State for Manpower Gan Siow Huang as saying that women now make up 45.6% of professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs), up from 41.1% ten years ago. Other than this good news about women’s participation rate in Singapore's workforce, the government provides fair support through Singapore’s maternity leave policy. Here is all you need to know.

Importance of Maternity Leave Policy

Singapore maternity leave policy was recently adjusted to better accommodate more working mothers and lessen the stress of having children. By compensating for maternity leaves, the government has also relieved some of the burden on employers when their female employees have children. This maternity leave policy serves to safeguard pregnant women from being terminated unfairly by employers trying to cut expenses. Thus, it is important for both employees and employers to understand their entitlement rights and not be anxious about losing their job due to pregnancy.

Singapore maternity leave policy has two primary categories for employees: the ones under Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA) employees and and ones under Employment Act (EA) employees. There are also two other schemes covering those who are not eligible for CDCA and EA: Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme and Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB) scheme. 

The Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA)

The Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA) in Singapore maternity leave policy applies to the first group of employees. This category is for mothers whose kid is a Singapore citizen at birth or will become a Singapore citizen within 12 months after birth. This group also includes mothers who were employed or self-employed for at least three months prior to the birth of their kid. A self-employed woman, according to CDCA, is someone who engages in or carries on any trade, business, profession, or vocation other than service work. A mother who is covered by the CDCA and GPML is entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. For more detailed information about CDCA, please refer to this link.

Employment Act (EA)

The other category is for women, and if their kid is not a Singaporean, their right to maternity benefits will be governed by the Employment Act (EA) in Singapore maternity leave policy. In general, the EA in Singapore applies to anybody who has signed into a service contract with an employer. Workmen (such as those engaged in physical labor or in activities listed in the First Schedule of the Employment Act, such as cleaners, bus/train drivers, or construction workers) and people in managerial or executive positions (PMEs), regardless of income level, are included. However, the EA does not apply to seafarers, domestic workers, civil servants, or employees of statutory boards. An expecting mother who qualifies for maternity leave under the EA is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. The company will pay for mothers' maternity leave under the EA program, and they will not be able to receive repayment from the government. Their company must pay the regular monthly wage for the first eight weeks, but the latter four weeks may qualify as unpaid leave, depending on the conditions of their work contract. For more detailed information about EA, please refer to this link.

Read Also: MOM Self Assessment Tool 

Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML)

The CDCA requires the provision of Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) in Singapore maternity leave policy. The same maternity leave rules apply under the CDCA, except that the GPML also applies to unwed mothers. Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) helps eligible working moms (including self-employed mothers) recuperate after childbirth and care for their newborns. GPML can be taken only when the child obtains Singapore citizenship and within 12 months of his or her birth date (inclusive of date of birth). This plan is for pregnant employees who have worked for their company for at least three months prior to the birth of their child. This plan is also available to women who have been actively employed in a specific trade, company, profession, or vocation for at least 3 months prior to the birth of their child and have lost income as a result of stopping to be actively engaged during their GPML time.

Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB)

Pregnant women who do not qualify for GPML are eligible for the Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB) in Singapore maternity leave policy. Pregnant mothers who have not worked for an employer for at least three months previous to the child's birth may qualify, as may those in temporary employment. The GPMB plan will cover pregnant women who have worked for at least three months in the 12 months before the birth of their child. Under the GPMB scheme, for the first and second births, a mother will be paid for 8 weeks of her maternity leave. While, for the third and subsequent births, a mother will be paid for all 16 weeks of her maternity leave.

The amount of Maternity Benefit they will get is determined by their gross wage, employer CPF contributions, and net trade income earned in the 12 months before the birth. This is calculated by dividing the total monthly gross rate of pay for the previous 12 months by 365 days. They must apply for the Government-Paid Maternity Benefit within 15 months following the birth of their child.

Employer’s Responsibility

A pregnant employee may begin her maternity leave 4 weeks before the estimated due date and extend it for a further 8 or 12 weeks, depending on whether she plans to take a 12- or 16-week leave. Or, if the employer agrees, a pregnant employee may begin the first 8 weeks of her maternity leave at any moment during the final 4 weeks before giving birth. For 12-week and 16-week leave entitlements, respectively, the final 4 or 8 weeks of maternity leave may be used whenever she wants within a year of the baby's birth.

Employers who fire a maternity leave employee are breaking the law. If an employer terminates an expecting mother without reasonable cause within 6 months of the projected delivery date (as confirmed by a medical practitioner) or the day of delivery itself, the employer is obligated to pay her the maternity benefits to which she would have been entitled. The same is true if an employer is forced to retrench a pregnant woman within three months of her expected delivery date or the day of her confinement - the employer must still pay her maternity benefits.

Note that Singapore maternity leave policy is very thorough and detailed, so if you cannot find the information you are looking for, you can find more information here. If you are a mother or if you are trying to find information about eligibility on Singapore maternity leave policy, you can calculate maternity leave through this link.

Read Also: HR Jobs in Singapore 

image source: Maria Zamchy (Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


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