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2013 Marriage and Parenthood Package - Enhanced Leave Schemes Take Effect From 1st May 2013

The Government had announced enhancements to the Marriage and Parenthood Package in January 2013 which aim to (i) improve access to housing to support earlier marriages and births, (ii) provide support for conception and delivery costs, (iii) further defray child-raising costs, (iv) help working couples to balance work and family commitments, and (v) encourage shared parental responsibility. The Ministry of Social and Family Development has amended the Child Development Co-Savings Act to effect the enhanced leave schemes under the package. 

With effect from 1st May 2013, employers are required to provide eligible working parents with:

a)     2 days of Government-Paid Extended Child Care Leave annually for working parents with children aged 7-12 years. Parents with at least one child below the age of 7 years will continue to have 6 days of Child Care Leave;

b)     4 weeks of Government-Paid Adoption Leave for working mothers;

c)     1 week of Government-Paid Paternity Leave for working fathers; and

d)     1 week of Government-Paid Shared Parental Leave where working fathers can share 1 week of the working mother’s Maternity Leave entitlement.

The above schemes also apply to parents who are self-employed. 

In addition, for births from 1st January 2013, mothers who do not qualify for Maternity Leave under the existing provisions can apply for Government-Paid Maternity Benefit directly from the Government, if they have been in employment for at least 90 days in the 12-month period preceding delivery. This scheme is introduced to provide some income to working women who, due to their employment arrangement, are unable to qualify for maternity leave after childbirth. The Government-Paid Maternity Benefit is equivalent to the Government-paid portion of Maternity Leave (i.e. 8 weeks for 1st and 2nd confinements; 16 weeks for 3rd and subsequent confinements). The amount of Maternity Benefit received is based on the income earned in the 12 months preceding delivery. 

With effect from 1st May 2013, the maternity protection period for employees who are retrenched or dismissed without sufficient cause will be extended to cover the full term of pregnancy. Employers who retrench or dismiss an employee without sufficient cause during her pregnancy will be liable to pay her the full Maternity Leave benefits. 

While the Extended Child Care Leave, Paternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave or Adoption Leave schemes are effective from 1st May 2013, some employers may have provided these leave to eligible employees on a voluntary basis between 1st January and 30th April 2013. These employers may claim from Government reimbursement for the Government-paid portion of the leave. Self-employed parents who have taken the leave during the same period are also eligible to claim reimbursement from the Government.

Employers and self-employed parents can start to submit their claims for reimbursement for the respective leave schemes from 1st May 2013. Information on the different schemes, frequently asked questions and the claim procedures are available at http://www.profamilyleave.gov.sg. Please refer to the Annex for details on the eligibility criteria. 

 

ISSUED BY                                                                                                                                        
MINISTRY OF SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT

Annex

 

 

ENHANCED AND NEW LEAVE SCHEMES FOR PARENTS UNDER M&P 2013


Government-Paid Extended Child Care Leave for Parents of Children Aged 7-12 Years

 

Currently, parents with children below the age of 7 years are eligible for 6 days of Child Care Leave per year, with the first 3 days paid by the employer and the remaining 3 days paid by the Government. 

 

The Government recognises that working parents will also need time away from work to see to their children’s needs when they are older. From 1st May 2013, each parent will be eligible for 2 days of Government-Paid Extended Child Care Leave annually if they meet the following criteria:

 

a)     The child is between the ages of 7 and 12 years (inclusive) on or after 1st May 2013;

b)     The child is a Singapore Citizen;

c)     The parent has served his or her employer for a continuous duration of at least 3 months;

       or

       For a parent who is self-employed, he or she has been engaged in a trade, business, profession or vocation for a continuous duration of at least 3 months.

 

Parents with children in both age groups, i.e. aged below 7 years, as well as aged between 7 and 12 years, will have a total Child Care Leave entitlement of 6 days per year for each parent. 

 

The 2 days of Extended Child Care Leave for parents with children between the ages of 7 and 12 years will be paid by the Government (capped at $500 per day including CPF contributions). 

 

 

Government-Paid Adoption Leave

 

Currently, the Government reimburses up to 4 weeks of Adoption Leave (subject to a cap of $10,000) to employers who voluntarily grant Adoption Leave to their employees. 

 

To better support adoptive parents in caring for their adopted child in his/her infant year, from 1st May 2013, employers will be required by law to provide 4 weeks of Government-Paid Adoption Leave for mothers who adopt an infant. The Adoption Leave can be taken from the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’[1], and within 12 months from the birth of the child.

 

Mothers will be eligible for Adoption Leave if they meet the following criteria:

 

a)     The child is below the age of 12 months at the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’;

b)     The child is a Singapore Citizen. If not, one of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore Citizen;

c)     The adoptive mother is lawfully married at the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’;

d)     The mother has served her employer for at least 3 months, or was engaged in her trade, business, profession or vocation for at least 3 months preceding the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’;

 

The Adoption Order must be passed within 1 year from the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’. In the case of a non-Singapore Citizen child, the child must also become a Singapore Citizen within 6 months from the passing of the Adoption Order. Otherwise, the Government can recover the Adoption Leave benefit from the mother.

 

The 4 weeks of Adoption Leave will be funded by the Government (capped at $10,000 including CPF contributions).

 

Government-Paid Paternity Leave

 

The Government recognises that fathers play an important role in raising children. To emphasise the importance of shared parental responsibility, working fathers will receive 1 week of Government-Paid Paternity Leave, to be taken within 16 weeks from the birth of the child. Paternity Leave can be taken flexibly within 12 months from the birth of the child, if there is mutual agreement between the employer and employee. 

 

Working fathers, including those who are self-employed, will be eligible for Paternity Leave provided they meet the following criteria:

a)     The child is a Singapore Citizen with estimated delivery date or birth on or after 1st May 2013;

b)     The child’s parents are lawfully married;

c)     The father has served his employer for a continuous duration of at least 3 months immediately preceding the birth of the child;

or

For a self-employed father, he has been engaged in a trade, business, profession or vocation for a continuous duration of at least 3 months immediately preceding the birth of the child.

 

Adoptive working fathers will also be eligible for Paternity Leave, if the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’ is on or after 1st May 2013, provided they meet the following criteria:

a)    The father is an applicant to the adoption;

b)    The child is below the age of 12 months at the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’;

c)    The child is a Singapore Citizen. If not, one of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore Citizen; and

d)    The father is lawfully married at the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’;

e)    The father has served his employer for a continuous duration of at least 3 months immediately preceding the point of ‘formal intent to adopt;

or

For a self-employed father, he has been engaged in a trade, business, profession or vocation for a continuous duration of at least 3 months immediately preceding the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’.

 

The Adoption Order must be passed within 1 year from the point of ‘formal intent to adopt’. In the case of a non-Singapore citizen child, the child must also become a Singapore Citizen within 6 months from the passing of the Adoption Order. Otherwise, the Government can recover the Paternity Leave benefit from the father.

 

The 1 week of Paternity Leave will be funded by the Government (capped at $2,500 including CPF contributions). 

Government-Paid Shared Parental Leave

 

To encourage shared parental responsibility and give working couples additional flexibility for care-giving arrangements, working fathers will also be eligible to share 1 week of the 16 weeks of Maternity Leave, subject to the agreement of the mother, if the mother qualifies for Government-Paid Maternity Leave. The Shared Parental Leave is to be consumed as a continuous block of 1 week within 12 months from the birth of the child. Shared Parental Leave can be taken flexibly within
12 months from the birth of the child, if there is mutual agreement between the employer and employee.

 

Working fathers, including those who are self-employed, will be eligible for Shared Parental Leave provided they meet the following criteria:

 

a)     The child is a Singapore Citizen with estimated delivery date or birth on or after 1st May 2013;

b)     The mother qualifies for Government-Paid Maternity Leave;

c)      The father is lawfully married to the child’s mother.

 

The 1 week of Shared Parental Leave will be funded by the Government (capped at $2,500 including CPF contributions). 

 

 

Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB)

 

With the evolving nature of work, some women are employed in shorter-term contract work. In other instances, the contracts of pregnant employees who may have worked for longer periods may expire before their child’s delivery. Both types of employees would not qualify for Maternity Leave under the existing provisions, even though they are economically active women.

 

The GPMB is introduced to provide them with some income in the months after childbirth. 

 

Working mothers will be eligible for GPMB provided they meet the following criteria:

 

a)     The mother is not eligible for paid Maternity Leave;

b)     The child is a Singapore Citizen with estimated delivery date or birth on or after 1st January 2013;

c)      The child’s parents are lawfully married;

d)     The mother has been in employment for at least 90 days in the 12 months preceding the birth of the child.  (If she has worked for different employers over the past 12 months, these employment periods can be added up to qualify for the GPMB).

 

The GPMB will be equivalent to the Government-paid portion of the Maternity Leave entitlement[2], computed based on the total income earned in the 12 months before childbirth, divided over 365 days to obtain a daily GPMB rate. GPMB will be paid as a lump sum, capped at $10,000 per 28 days. 

 

Working mothers will also be eligible for GPMB for all confinements if their contracts expire after the birth of the child but before they have consumed 8 weeks of Maternity Leave (1st and 2nd confinements) or 16 weeks of Maternity Leave (3rd and subsequent confinements). They can receive pro-rated GPMB such that their total benefits paid for the Maternity Leave (employer-paid and Government-paid) is 8 weeks for the 1st and 2nd confinements or 16 weeks for the 3rd and subsequent confinements. 

  

Extended Maternity Protection Period

 

From 1st May 2013, maternity protection for retrenchment and for dismissal without sufficient cause will cover the full term of pregnancy, up from the current 3 months and 6 months before delivery respectively. This means that if a pregnant employee is retrenched or dismissed without sufficient cause during any point of her pregnancy, the employer will be required to pay her maternity benefits. This is to discourage employers from terminating the services of female employees the moment they are aware of their pregnancy status, to deny them of maternity benefits in order to cut cost. 

 

To qualify for enhanced maternity protection, the employee must have served her employer for at least 3 months prior to receiving the notice of dismissal or retrenchment. The 3 month period would provide an employer a reasonable period of time to assess a female employee’s suitability for employment before taking on responsibility for her maternity benefits.

 

Female employees who have been retrenched during their pregnancy, or feel that they have been dismissed without sufficient cause during their pregnancy, and did not receive any maternity benefits from their employers, may lodge a case with the Ministry for Manpower using the Employment Standards Online System <link: http://www.mom.gov.sg/services-forms/labour-relations/Pages/esol-individual.aspx> for assistance. 



[1] The ‘formal intent to adopt’ is the Court application to adopt (for Singapore Citizen child), or issuance of the in-principle approval for Dependant’s Pass (for non-Singapore Citizen child).

[2] 8 weeks for 1st and 2nd confinements; 16 weeks for 3rd and subsequent confinements.

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