1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) is proposing to amend the Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA) to ensure that more working parents with Singaporean children benefit from family-friendly policies at the workplace. The amendments will support a wider group of parents and employers, including parents not on regular employment, and employers who offer parental leave to new staff, among others.
2. The amendments to the CDCA are part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to support Singaporeans in having children and raising a family. Recent efforts include the one-off Baby Support Grant of $3,000 for Singaporean children born from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2022, which was launched last year. This was introduced on top of existing benefits, to encourage couples to proceed with their parenthood plans despite COVID-19. This year, the Government also doubled the maximum amount of dollar-for-dollar co-matching for parents’ savings into the Child Development Account (CDA) for their second child , from $3,000 to $6,000.
3. Government-Paid Paternity Benefit (GPPB) and Government-Paid Adoption Benefit (GPAB) schemes.
The Bill seeks to introduce the GPPB and GPAB schemes later this year, as announced in February 2021. With these schemes, working fathers and adoptive mothers on short-term employment contracts or whose employment contract had ended just before their child was born or adopted, can qualify for paternity or adoption benefits respectively. The GPPB and GPAB schemes will give parents cash benefits equivalent to the Government-paid portion of Paternity Leave and Adoption Leave for Mothers. Similar benefits were previously only applicable to working mothers via the existing Government-Paid Maternity Benefit (GPMB).
4. The benefits will apply to parents whose child’s date of birth, estimated date of delivery, or formal intent to adopt falls on or after 1 January 2021. Parents must have worked for at least 90 days in the 12 months before the child’s date of birth or formal intent to adopt. As further subsidiary legislative amendments are to be made, eligible parents may apply from 1 December 2021. In the interim, more information on the schemes can be found at www.profamilyleave.gov.sg
5. Assisting Retrenched Parents.
The Bill proposes to grant GPMB, GPPB or GPAB top-ups for parents who have been retrenched but have unconsumed parental leave that would have otherwise been forfeited. Some parents may be affected by unforeseen job losses even though they have not used their full leave entitlement.
6. Supporting Parents with stillborn children.
In support of parents with stillborn children who would have been Singapore Citizens if born alive, the Government currently grants reimbursement to employers who provide paternity and maternity leave to such parents. Following the proposed amendments, these parents will be entitled to birth-linked leave and benefits under the CDCA. This recognises the need for these parents to recover physically and emotionally. The definition of stillbirths will be aligned to that in the Registration of Births and Death Act.
7. Other amendments.
The Bill also seeks to amend the CDCA to reimburse employers who voluntarily grant leave to their employees who have not met the minimum three-month employment criterion to qualify for parental leave schemes. This signals the Government’s support of pro-family employers. Other amendments will also be made to allow for greater checks and accountability of Government monies e.g. audits and recovery of erroneous payments, as more benefits are extended.
8. Please refer to ANNEX A
for the translation of key terms.