With a vision to build a Singapore that is “Made For Families”, the government has enhanced the parental leave schemes, including increasing the paternity leave in 2017, to foster pro-family ties. This allows fathers to play a bigger role in raising their children as they are able to spend more time and strengthen their bonds with their children and wives.
Whilst working mothers may be eligible for 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave, working fathers could also take up to 8 weeks of leave to care for their new-born child. They consist of government-paid paternity leave, shared parental leave, childcare leave, and unpaid leave.
Here is how a working father with a new born child can benefit from the paternity leave scheme in Singapore.
#1 Who Is Eligible For Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) Benefits?
To qualify for government-paid paternity leave (GPPL) as a working father, you must be lawfully married to the child’s mother between conception and birth. You must also show that you have either worked for at least 3 continuous months with your employer before the birth of your child or, if you’re self-employed, that you have engaged in your work for 3 continuous months before the birth of the child and have lost income during the paternity leave period.
You may also qualify as an adoptive father for paternity leave for the birth of the child, provided you fulfill the employment conditions as stated above.
When The Child Is A Singapore Citizen
The working father is entitled to the GPPL regardless of their citizenship status (ie: Singapore citizen, foreigner, or permanent resident) as long as the child IS a Singapore citizen at birth or becomes one within 12 months of birth.
When The Child Is Not A Singapore Citizen
If the child is NOT a Singapore citizen, then the working father is not eligible for the government-paid paternity leave.
#2 How Many Days Of Paternity Leave Do Working Fathers Get?
As an eligible working father, you get 2 weeks of government-paid paternity leave (GPPL) after the birth of your child.
Your GPPL entitlement is dependent on your number of working days in a week. For example, if you have 5 work days in a week, then you will get 10 days of GPPL. This is capped at 6 working days per week, or a total of 12 working days.
You can consume the 2 weeks of GPPL either as a continuous block within the first 16 weeks or, if there’s an agreement with the company, it can also be consumed non-continuously within 12 months from the child’s date of birth.
#3 Are Short-Term Contract Employees Entitled To Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL)?
Whether you are a fixed-term contractor, temporary or part-time employee, you are eligible for GPPL.
However, your leave entitlement depends on the number of hours that you work in a week. For example, if you work 15 hours a week, you would be entitled to 30 hours of GPPL.
#4 Can Working Mothers Share Their Maternity Leave Benefits With Working Fathers?
Working mothers can share a minimum of one week and up to four weeks of their maternity leave with working fathers starting from the date of the child’s birth under the government-paid shared parental leave (SPL) scheme.
The working father, who must be legally married to the working mother, can take his leave either in one continuous block or take it flexibly as agreed between the employer and employee.
The government will reimburse you for all 4 weeks of SPL taken at a capped rate of up to $2,500 per week.
#5 How Much Can Companies Claim For Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) Taken By An Employee?
The government reimburses or pays for all 2 weeks of the employee’s GPPL, capped at $2,500 per week, for a total of $5,000.
Employers must obtain the declaration form (GPPL1) and the supporting documents from their employees to verify their eligibility. Thereafter, these records must be kept for 5 years from the last leave date taken by the employee for audit purposes.
Employers may use the government-paid leave (GPL) Portal to claim the reimbursement. However, they must do so no later than 3 months from the last date the employee took their GPPL.
#6 Working Fathers Could Also Take Paid Childcare Leave
In addition to the paternity leave, working fathers are also entitled to government-paid childcare leave (GPCL) of 6 days provided that their youngest Singapore-citizen child is below 7 years old.
The first 3 days of the childcare leave are paid for by the company, and the remaining 3 days will be paid by the government with a cap of $500 per day, inclusive of CPF contributions.
However, if you are a working father of a non-citizen child, you can only take up to 2 days of childcare leave in a year in accordance with the Employment Act.
#7 Conditions When Working Fathers Can Take Unpaid Leave
As a working father, in addition to the paid leave, you are also entitled to 6 days of unpaid infant care leave in a year. This only applies if you have worked for 3 continuous months with your employer and your Singapore citizen child is under 2 years of age.
Separately, employers who adopt the Tripartite Standard for Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs must inform their employees of the types of unpaid leave that are available to support their unexpected care needs.
For example, an employee could take up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave per year if their child is below the age of 2 and is born preterm, has congenital conditions, or has any medical conditions.
Building a Sustainable Future
Be part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and achieve your business’ sustainability goals. Fund your green initiatives today with the OCBC SME Sustainable Financing Framework.
Join The DollarsAndSense Business Community
For more content that helps entrepreneurs, freelancers, and self-employed individuals and learn to build better businesses, join the DollarsAndSense Business Community on Facebook.