Employers in Singapore are required to give eligible employees up to 6 days of Government Paid Childcare Leave (GCPL) each year. While businesses can do more for employees who are parents, they cannot do less as childcare leave is an employee entitlement provided for in Singapore’s Employment Act and the Child Development Co-Savings Act.
Partnering businesses to provide a more conducive working environment for parents, the government co-funds part of the childcare leaves. Hence the term Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL). Employers can also use the Government Paid Leave (GPL) Schemes calculator to estimate the reimbursement amount for employees.
To understand how the Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL) works better, here are 10 things you need to know.
#1 Only Employees With Singapore Citizen Children Get The Maximum 6 Days Childcare Leave Annually
As mentioned, the Employment Act and the Child Development Co-Savings Act provides for childcare entitlements to employees in Singapore.
The Employment Act is more for employees with non-citizen children, who are entitled to 2 days of childcare leave annually.
The Child Development Co-Savings Act provides up to 6 days of childcare leave each year to those with Singapore Citizen children under age 7. This means eligible working parents can take up to 42 days of childcare leaves in total, i.e. 6 days a year X 7 years timeframe.
It is the citizenship of the child that matters rather than the citizenship of the parent.
#2 Employees Only Get A Maximum Of 42 Days Of Childcare Leaves Under The Child Development Co-Savings Act
Employees can take 6 days of Childcare leave a year for 7 years to take care of their Singapore Citizen child.
This is a cap on the parent, rather than the child. If the parent has another child, he or she will not be eligible for more childcare leaves under the Child Development Co-Savings Act. This means parents can only be able to take up to 42 days of childcare leaves regardless of how many children they have.
However, the parent is still eligible for 2 days of childcare leave a year under the Employment Act. These 2 days of childcare leaves are not reimbursed by the government, but paid by the employer. Under the Employment Act, there is a cap of 14 childcare leaves in respect of any child.
#3 Only Employees Who Have Worked For More Than 3 Months Can Start Taking Childcare Leaves
Like many employee entitlements in Singapore, the Child Development Co-Savings Act only provides childcare leave entitlements for employees who have worked for more than 3 months.
This doesn’t go from 0 days to 6 days after working for 3 months either; it increases gradually.
|No. Of Months Worked For Employer||Entitlement|
|Less than 5 months||2 days of childcare leave|
|Less than 7 months||3 days of childcare leave|
|Less than 9 months||4 days of childcare leave|
|Less than 11 months||5 days of childcare leave|
|More than 11 months||6 days of childcare leave|
#4 Only Up To 3 Days Of Childcare Leave Is Paid For By The Government Each Year
While eligible employees can take up to 6 days of childcare leave each year, the government only pays for the 4th, 5th and 6th days of childcare leaves that they take each year. It is also capped at $500 per day, including CPF contributions (which is sufficient to fully pay the GCPL for an employee earning around $10,000 a month).
This also means businesses have to pay for the first 3 days of childcare leaves for their employees, as well as any salary amount above the limit of around $10,000.
For example, if an employee takes only 3 days of childcare leave in a year, employers cannot claim any payment from the government. Similarly, if an employee takes 4 days of childcare leave in a year, employers can only claim government funding for the 4th day – or for 1 day of childcare leave.
#5 Employees Can Take Up To 2 Days Of Extended Childcare Leave For Children Aged Between 7 And 12 Years
Not all working parents may fully utilise their cap of 42 days of Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL) entitlement by the time their child turns 7. For such employees, they can take up to 2 days of Extended Childcare Leave (ECL) each year to consume their remaining childcare leave entitlements.
Employers are required to provide such employees with the extended childcare leave. In return, both days will be paid for by the government, up to the cap of $500 per day.
If an employee has sufficient remaining childcare leaves, and has two children – one between 8 and 12 and the other between 0 and 7 – the employee can choose to take either 2 childcare leaves under the Extended Childcare Leave scheme or more than 2 childcare leaves under the regular childcare leave scheme.
Basically, this is the option employees have:
|Youngest Child Is 7 Or Below||Eldest Child Is Between 7 And 12||Childcare Leave Benefit|
|Yes||Yes||2 days or 6 days|
The main difference is for employers. If an employee is taking their childcare leave normally, only the last 3 days will be paid by the government. If an employee is taking childcare leaves via the Extended Childcare Leave (ECL) scheme, 1 or both days will be paid for by the government.
#6 Employees Can Start Their First Year Either When Their Child Is 0 Years Old Or 1 Years Old
Childcare leave entitlement lasts for 7 years – until an employee’s child turns 7. However, this only takes the year into consideration, and not the actual date that the child turns 7.
In effect, an employee can choose to take their childcare leave between the years that their child is 0 years old to 6 years old, or 1 years old to 7 years old.
If an employee starts childcare leave when child is 0 years old:
|Child is born in 2023||Year||Child’s Age|
|First childcare leave taken – Government Paid Childcare Leave scheme starts||2023||0 years old|
|Government Paid Childcare Leave scheme expiry||2029||6 years old|
|Extended Childcare Leave (ECL) scheme starts||2030||7 years old|
|Extended Childcare Leave scheme expiry||2035||12 years old|
Source: Pro Family Leave website
If an employee starts childcare leave when child is 1 years old:
|Child is born in 2023||Year||Child’s Age|
|First childcare leave taken – Government Paid Childcare Leave scheme starts||2024||1 years old|
|Government Paid Childcare Leave scheme expiry||2030||7 years old|
|Extended Childcare Leave (ECL) scheme starts||2031||8 years old|
|Extended Childcare Leave scheme expiry||2036||13 years old|
Source: Pro Family Leave website
#7 Things Employees Cannot Use Their Childcare Leaves For
- Transfer their childcare leaves to their spouse
- Carry forward leaves not used to the following year (this means only up to 6 childcare leaves can be used per year)
- Use childcare leaves to offset their notice period when they leave their job
- Use more than 6 days of childcare leave even if they switch jobs during the year (childcare leaves are tagged to them rather than employers)
#8 Part-Time Employees Are Also Entitled To Government Paid Childcare Leaves
Part-time employees can also take Government Paid Childcare Leaves. Leaves should be adjusted based on the number of working hours of a part-timer, subject to a minimum of 2 days per year.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has provided a formula to calculate childcare leave entitlements for part-time employees:
#9 Parents Who Adopt Their Children Are Also Eligible For Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL)
As long as an employee meets the criteria, they are eligible for childcare leaves. The criteria are:
- Employee’s child is below 7 years old
- Employee’s child is a Singapore citizen
- Employee has worked with you for at least 3 continuous months
For employees who adopt, they must wait until after the adoption order has been passed.
In the same way, if a child is adopted by another person, other than jointly with your employee, he or she no longer receives this entitlement.
#10 How To Approve Childcare Leaves From Your Employees
First, you need to obtain a declaration form – GPCL1 or use another internal system – from your employee. This form does not need to be submitted, but employers need to keep this form for a period of 5 years for verification of details if necessary.
As employers may not know the total number of the maximum 42 days that an employee is eligible for, this form will provide that information. Employees need to understand that.
Next, employers need to submit your claims via the Government Paid Leave (GPL) portal. This has to be done no later than 3 months after the last day of the employee’s 12-month relevant period.
A notification will be sent to you and your employee once the application is processed. Employers can also log into the GPL portal to check your application status.
Note that the government may refuse reimbursement to employers if an employee has already taken their allotted childcare leaves and the government has paid out a total of 21 days of childcare leaves. As employers typically only submit forms after the childcare leaves are taken, there may be instances when the employee may not be aware that they have taken their share of childcare leaves.
This article was first published on 9 February 2021 and has been updated with the latest information.
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