regular textmedium textlarge text
Print This Page

Maternity Leave

Part IX of the Employment Act and Part III of the Child Development Co-Savings Act provide maternity protection and benefits for employees.


Eligibility and duration of maternity leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act

Eligibility under the Child Development Co-Savings Act

The Child Development Co-Savings Act covers parents of Singapore Citizen children, including managerial, executive and confidential staff.

Under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, an employee is entitled to maternity leave benefits if:

  1. The child is a Singapore Citizen;
  2. The child's parents are lawfully married; and
  3. The employee has served her employer for at least 3 months before the child's birth.

OR

The mother is self-employed and has been engaged in a particular business / trade / profession for a continuous duration of at least 3 months before the birth of the child; and have lost income as a result of not engaging in her trade, business, profession or vocation during the maternity leave period.

If the employee does not meet criterion (i) and/or (ii) at the time of confinement, but meets them within 12 months of the child's birth, she will be eligible for the remaining maternity leave from the date she meets all the criteria. The remaining maternity leave entitlement must be taken before the child turns 12 months old. She will not be eligible for the maternity leave that has lapsed.

Working fathers, including those who are self-employed, are entitled to share 1 week out of the 16 weeks’ maternity leave, subject to the agreement of the mother and provided that they meet the following criteria under CDCA:

  1. The child is a Singapore Citizen;
  2. Mother qualifies for Government-Paid Maternity Leave;
  3. Father is lawfully married to the child’s mother.

Entitlement under Child Development Co-Savings Act

An eligible employee is entitled to absent herself from work four weeks immediately before and 12 weeks immediately after delivery, totalling 16 weeks.

Where there is a mutual agreement with her employer, an employee can take the last eight weeks (9th to 16th week) of maternity leave flexibly over a 12-month period from the child's birth. The number of days of maternity leave that can be taken flexibly is equivalent to eight weeks' worth of working days, up to a maximum of 48 days.


Eligibility and duration of maternity leave under the Employment Act

An employee who is covered under the Employment Act, but not under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. She will be paid by her employer for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if she has fewer than two living children (excluding the newborn), and she has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child. The last four weeks of maternity leave can be taken flexibly over a 12-month period from the child’s birth.


Coverage under different scenarios

Single (unmarried) employees

A single (unmarried) employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she is covered under the Employment Act. She will be paid by her employer for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if she has fewer than two living children (excluding the newborn), and she has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child. Beyond the first eight weeks, maternity payment from the employer is voluntary and the employer is not entitled to claim any reimbursement from the government.

If the employee's child is not a Singapore citizen

If the child is not a Singapore citizen, the employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she is covered under the Employment Act. She will be paid by her employer for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if she has fewer than two living children (excluding the newborn), and she has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child. Beyond the first eight weeks, maternity payment from the employer is voluntary and the employer is not entitled to claim any reimbursement from the government.

Maternity leave for a foreigner or PR working in Singapore

The employee is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if she is covered under the Employment Act, regardless of her nationality. She will be paid by her employer for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if she has fewer than two living children (excluding the newborn), and she has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child. Beyond the first eight weeks, maternity payment from the employer is voluntary and the employer is not entitled to claim any reimbursement from the government.

The employee is entitled to maternity leave benefits under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, even if she is a foreigner or PR, if:

  1. The child is a Singapore citizen
  2. The child's parents are lawfully married
  3. The employee has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child.

OR

The mother is self-employed and have been engaged in a particular business / trade / profession for a continuous duration of at least 3 months before the birth of the child; and have lost income as a result of not engaging in her trade, business, profession or vocation during the maternity leave period.

If the employee/mother does not meet criterion (1) and/or (2) at the time of confinement, but meets them within 12 months of the child's birth, she will be eligible for the remaining maternity leave from the date she meets all the criteria. The remaining maternity leave entitlement must be taken before the child turns 12 months old. She will not be eligible for the maternity leave that has lapsed.

The Child Development Co-Savings Act covers parents of Singapore Citizens, including managerial, executive and confidential staff.

Employees on fixed term contract, temporary and part-time employment

An employee on fixed term contract, temporary or part-time employment is entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave if she meets the eligibility conditions under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, or 12 weeks of maternity leave if she satisfies the eligibility conditions under the Employment Act. If she is eligible for paid maternity leave, she will be paid at the gross rate for each day that she would normally have been required to work under her contract of service.

Employees on probation

As long as the employee has served her employer for at least 3 months before the birth of the child, and meets the other eligibility criteria for maternity leave under the Employment Act or the Child Development Co-Savings Act, she is eligible for paid maternity leave.

Employees with twins or more children

An employee who gives birth to twins will be treated the same way as an employee who gives birth to a single child. It will be considered as a single confinement and she will not receive double maternity benefits.

Employees with stillbirth

The employer is required to give an employee full maternity leave if she had a stillbirth. The stillbirth will not be counted in determining her eligibility for maternity leave benefits for the next confinement.

Employees with abortions or miscarriage

Maternity leave benefits do not apply to such cases. However, the employee will be entitled to paid sick leave if she satisfies the qualifying conditions for paid sick leave.

Employees with premature delivery

If an employee has a premature delivery before she goes on her maternity leave, she can commence the full 16 weeks of maternity leave from the date of confinement. However, if she is unable to take the full eight weeks of employer-paid maternity leave after her delivery, her employer should pay her wages for the period of her maternity leave which she has worked prior to her confinement.

If you fall sick during maternity leave

Employees are not entitled to paid sick leave while on maternity leave. They are not eligible to claim for medical expenses incurred in connection with the delivery of her child, unless it is provided for in the employment contract.


Salary to employees on maternity leave

Under the Employment Act, an employer is required to continue paying an employee her usual salary at the monthly gross rate of pay for the first eight weeks of maternity leave if:

  1. The employee has been employed for at least 3 months before the birth of the child;
  2. The employee has less than two children of her own at the time of delivery. In the case of multiple births (e.g. twins, triplets etc) during the first pregnancy, the employer is still required to pay eight weeks of maternity leave for the next pregnancy; and
  3. The employee has given her employer at least one week's notice before going on maternity leave, and informed her employer as soon as practicable of her delivery. Otherwise, the employee is only entitled to half the payment during the maternity leave, unless she can show sufficient cause that prevented her from giving such notice to the employer.

If the employee qualifies for Government-paid Maternity Leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, she will be paid by the employer during the entire 16 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of the birth order of the child. The employer may later claim reimbursement from the Government for the last eight weeks for the first and second confinements and all 16 weeks for the third or subsequent confinements.

If the employee does not qualify for maternity leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act, payment beyond the first eight weeks is voluntary and subject to contractual agreement.

Obligations for employers and employees

Employers’ obligations

Under Section 81 of the Employment Act, employers are prohibited from dismissing an employee who is on maternity leave. An employer who does so is liable to a fine and/or imprisonment.

An employer cannot employ an employee at any time during the four weeks immediately following her confinement. An employer also cannot contract out the maternity benefits.

The above applies to employees covered under the Employment Act or Child Development Co-Savings Act.

If employer terminates the employment of a pregnant employee without sufficient cause or retrenched her during any point of her pregnancy (as certified by a registered medical practitioner prior to receiving the notice of termination/dismissal or retrenchment), the employer is required to pay the employee maternity benefits she would have otherwise been eligible for.

To qualify for this maternity protection, the employee must have served her employer for at least 3 months prior to receiving the notice of dismissal or retrenchment.

Employee’s obligations

Employee cannot use the maternity benefit period to offset notice of termination. Once an employee leaves employment, her maternity benefits will cease.

An employee cannot work for another employer during the period of her maternity leave. If she does so, her maternity benefit will be forfeited. She may also be dismissed.

An employee can claim paid maternity leave benefits from more than one employer, if she was working for multiple employers before she gave birth.

The above applies to employees covered under the Employment Act or the Child Development Co-Savings Act.

Disputes

In the case of a dispute, the employee should first speak with the employer to understand the situation. If it is a case of dismissal and she thinks that she has been dismissed without sufficient cause, the employee can:

  • Seek the union's help (if she is a union member);
  • Submit an appeal in writing to the Minister for Manpower after the dismissal and within two months from the date of confinement. This is applicable to employee who is covered under the Employment Act or the Child Development Co-Savings Act.; or
  • Seek legal help

Advice to both employers and employees

Give your employer advance notice before going on maternity leave. The employee must inform her employer as early as possible, at least one week before she starts taking maternity leave. She should also reach an agreement with the employer on how and when she intends to take the leave before she starts taking maternity leave. The four weeks of maternity leave immediately after the delivery of her child is compulsory.

Flexible use of the last eight weeks of maternity leave

The last eight weeks of maternity leave can be taken in a stretch, or if there is mutual agreement between the employer and employee, it may be taken flexibly within 12 months from the birth of the child. The employer and the employee should discuss and come to an agreement before she goes on maternity leave. Maternity leave that is taken flexibly is capped at 48 working days, and computed as follows:

8 weeks x the number of working days in the week

Example:
If the employee worked five days in a week, the number of maternity leave days that can be taken flexibly is computed as follows:

8 weeks x 5 days = 40 working days

If the employee agreed to work three days out of five days per week and take the remaining two days in the week as flexible maternity leave, the 40 days of flexible maternity leave will be consumed in 20 weeks.

The employee and employer can work out any flexible arrangement that best suits the needs of both parties. For example, the employee could, after eight weeks of maternity leave,

  • return to work on a half day scheme
  • be on a shortened workweek of say, three days

until the flexible leave (maximum 48 days) is exhausted. Whichever form it takes, both the employer and the employee must mutually agree to the arrangement.

The employer and the employee should also anticipate and agree on an approach to deal with possible situations that may arise from taking the leave flexibly. For example, how the employee's work performance will be assessed when she is on flexible leave, whether she can go back to taking the maternity as a continuous block subsequently, and whether she can bring forward her flexible leave if she resigns or her contract ends within 12 months from the childbirth.

Variations of maternity leave

An employee can take a shorter period of pre-confinement leave (i.e. less than four weeks) so that she can have a longer period of post-confinement leave, if there is mutual agreement between the employee and the employer. The total period of maternity leave is still subject to a maximum of 16 weeks.

Claims and reimbursements

Last updated on 17 November 2014 10:34:20