Maternity leave and pay entitlement for expats in Singapore Maternity leave and pay entitlement for expats in Singapore

Maternity leave and pay entitlement for expats in Singapore
04 Nov 2017

Q. One of our expats based in Singapore has just told us she’s pregnant. Does the country have a maternity leave and pay scheme for this kind of worker?

Foreign workers have the same entitlement to maternity leave and pay as residents in Singapore provided they meet the eligibility criteria. To qualify for full maternity pay and the entire leave entitlement of 16 weeks, these criteria are:

• Employees must have worked for their employer for more than three months
• Their child will be a Singaporean citizen
• They are married.

Maternity leave is payable at the employee’s normal salary rate. But for the first and second child, employers can only reclaim S$20,000 from the government for the last eight weeks of maternity pay ie S$10,000 per four weeks, including contributions into the mandatory social security savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund (CPF). They still need to pay maternity leave for the first eight weeks themselves and are unable to reclaim any money for this period.

For the third child and subsequent children, it is possible to reclaim S$40,000, including CPF contributions, for the full 16 weeks. While employers may already have put in place a more generous occupational scheme, the amount that can be reclaimed is limited to the above.

Flexible leave

An employee only needs to give seven days notice of her intention to start maternity leave, which is done by filling in form ‘GPML 1’. Maternity leave payment is made via payroll on the employee’s normal payday.

Employers cannot claim reimbursement for maternity leave payments until an employee returns to work, but then must do so within three months via the Pro Family Leave website.

They also need to keep records for three years. Employees may choose to take their last eight weeks as flexible maternity leave up until their child’s first birthday. If the child is not a Singaporean citizen and/or the mother is not married, leave entitlement is usually only 12 weeks leave, and only the first eight weeks are paid – although it will depend on the employee’s contract. Employers may, of course, voluntarily choose to make a payment for the remaining four weeks of leave.

If circumstances change before the child’s first or the child becomes a Singaporean citizen, the employee in question is entitled to take their full 16 week’s leave – as long as it is before the child’s first birthday. Otherwise the leave will be forfeited. If an employee takes continuous leave, it is deemed to include non-working days, rest days and public holidays. If the leave is taken on a more flexible basis, it is accounted for based on working days only. Non-working days, rest days and public holidays are treated as an additional. Flexible leave can be taken as short weeks, including half days, but must be agreed with employers first.

“Employers cannot claim reimbursement for maternity leave payments until an employee returns to work, but must do so within three months.”



Arrangement

16 weeks

12 weeks

By default

 

Employees take 16 weeks continuously,

starting four weeks before delivery

Employees take 12 weeks

continuously, starting four weeks

before delivery

By agreement

Employees start the leave anytime in the

four weeks preceding delivery

 

Eight weeks of leave must be taken as one

continuous period

 

The balance can be taken over 12 months

at the employee’s discretion up until their

child’s first birthday

Employees start the leave anytime in

the four weeks preceding delivery

 

Eight weeks of leave must be taken

as one continuous period

 

The balance can be taken over 12

months at the employee’s discretion

up until their child’s first birthday

Flexible leave

calculation

Eight weeks x the number of working days

in the week, capped at 48 days.

Four weeks x the number of working

days in the week, capped at 24 days.

 

It may be useful to direct employees to the Hey Baby site which contains much pertinent information about having a baby in Singapore.

Shared parental leave

Singapore offers shared parental leave of one week, which is due to increase to four weeks from 2017. See here for more information.

Yvette Lamidey, CEO, The Business Locksmith investigates the regulations around leave and pay entitlement for foreign workers who are about to become mothers.

Q. One of our expats based in Singapore has just told us she’s pregnant. Does the country have a maternity leave and pay scheme for this kind of worker?

Foreign workers have the same entitlement to maternity leave and pay as residents in Singapore provided they meet the eligibility criteria. To qualify for full maternity pay and the entire leave entitlement of 16 weeks, these criteria are:

• Employees must have worked for their employer for more than three months
• Their child will be a Singaporean citizen
• They are married.

Maternity leave is payable at the employee’s normal salary rate. But for the first and second child, employers can only reclaim S$20,000 from the government for the last eight weeks of maternity pay ie S$10,000 per four weeks, including contributions into the mandatory social security savings scheme, the Central Provident Fund (CPF). They still need to pay maternity leave for the first eight weeks themselves and are unable to reclaim any money for this period.

For the third child and subsequent children, it is possible to reclaim S$40,000, including CPF contributions, for the full 16 weeks. While employers may already have put in place a more generous occupational scheme, the amount that can be reclaimed is limited to the above.

Flexible leave

An employee only needs to give seven days notice of her intention to start maternity leave, which is done by filling in form ‘GPML 1’. Maternity leave payment is made via payroll on the employee’s normal payday.

Employers cannot claim reimbursement for maternity leave payments until an employee returns to work, but then must do so within three months via the Pro Family Leave website.

They also need to keep records for three years. Employees may choose to take their last eight weeks as flexible maternity leave up until their child’s first birthday. If the child is not a Singaporean citizen and/or the mother is not married, leave entitlement is usually only 12 weeks leave, and only the first eight weeks are paid – although it will depend on the employee’s contract. Employers may, of course, voluntarily choose to make a payment for the remaining four weeks of leave.

If circumstances change before the child’s first or the child becomes a Singaporean citizen, the employee in question is entitled to take their full 16 week’s leave – as long as it is before the child’s first birthday. Otherwise the leave will be forfeited. If an employee takes continuous leave, it is deemed to include non-working days, rest days and public holidays. If the leave is taken on a more flexible basis, it is accounted for based on working days only. Non-working days, rest days and public holidays are treated as an additional. Flexible leave can be taken as short weeks, including half days, but must be agreed with employers first.

“Employers cannot claim reimbursement for maternity leave payments until an employee returns to work, but must do so within three months.”



Arrangement

16 weeks

12 weeks

By default

 

Employees take 16 weeks continuously,

starting four weeks before delivery

Employees take 12 weeks

continuously, starting four weeks

before delivery

By agreement

Employees start the leave anytime in the

four weeks preceding delivery

 

Eight weeks of leave must be taken as one

continuous period

 

The balance can be taken over 12 months

at the employee’s discretion up until their

child’s first birthday

Employees start the leave anytime in

the four weeks preceding delivery

 

Eight weeks of leave must be taken

as one continuous period

 

The balance can be taken over 12

months at the employee’s discretion

up until their child’s first birthday

Flexible leave

calculation

Eight weeks x the number of working days

in the week, capped at 48 days.

Four weeks x the number of working

days in the week, capped at 24 days.

 

It may be useful to direct employees to the Hey Baby site which contains much pertinent information about having a baby in Singapore.

Shared parental leave

Singapore offers shared parental leave of one week, which is due to increase to four weeks from 2017. See here for more information.

Yvette Lamidey, CEO, The Business Locksmith investigates the regulations around leave and pay entitlement for foreign workers who are about to become mothers.

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