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Navigating Adoption Leave: A Guide to Singapore's Employment Practices and the Support Available for Growing Families

Approximately 400 adoption applications are filed annually in Singapore. Adoption leave plays a crucial role in this process, offering numerous benefits for both employees and employers.


For employees, this leave is essential for bonding with the new child, reducing stress, and improving overall health. For employers, providing adoption leave enhances job satisfaction, aids in employee retention, and fosters a positive public image.


Implementing an effective leave management system and utilising a leave app can significantly streamline this process.


What are the rules on adoption leave in Singapore?


Eligible adoptive mothers—including the self-employed, are entitled to 12 weeks of paid adoption leave. This leave is crucial for bonding and caring for the adopted infants.

To qualify for adoption leave, the applicant must meet several criteria:


  • The adopted child must be under 12 months old at the time of formal intent to adopt. Note that this intent is formalised differently for local and foreign children: Through a court application for local children and upon in-principle approval for a Dependant's Pass for foreign children.

  • The child should be a Singapore citizen, or in cases where the child is foreign, one of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore citizen, and the child needs to acquire Singapore citizenship within six months following the adoption.

  • The adoptive mother must have been employed or self-employed continuously for at least three months prior to the formal intent to adopt.

  • The Adoption Order needs to be finalised within one year of declaring the formal intent to adopt.


Entitlement details


For formal intents to adopt on or after July 1, 2017, mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of leave, with a cap of $10,000 per every 4-week leave, including CPF contributions. If the intent was before this date, the entitlement is 4 weeks, capped at the same amount.


Leave can commence from the formal intent to adopt and must be consumed before the child’s first birthday. The employer pays the usual salary during the leave, which is then reimbursed by the government according to the number of births.


Leave arrangements


Adoption leave can be taken in different arrangements:


  • By default, without mutual agreement, it is taken continuously from the date of formal intent to adopt.

  • With mutual agreement, flexibility is allowed for the adoption leave. The initial 8 weeks should be taken continuously, commencing between the formal intent to adopt and the grant date of the Adoption Order. The remaining 4 weeks can be utilised flexibly but must be taken before the child's first birthday.

Employers and employees can benefit greatly from an e-leave system to manage these arrangements.


How to manage adoption leave in your company.


Adoption leave is a vital provision that supports families during the critical period of adopting a child in Singapore. Employers play a key role in this by offering and managing leave effectively.


Implementing a leave app and a leave management system is instrumental in managing adoption leave and other leave types. These systems:


  • Provide an organised e-leave platform for leave requests and approvals, ensuring clarity and ease of access

  • Allow for real-time tracking and management of leave balances, essential for planning and resource allocation

  • Facilitate compliance with employment laws and regulations related to leave.

  • Enhance communication between employees and management, leading to better understanding and coordination.

For companies looking to manage adoption leave effectively, Adaptive Pay's leave management system and leave app can provide a streamlined solution. These tools help in efficiently organising and tracking leave, ensuring compliance with regulations, and simplifying the process for both employers and employees.


Adaptive Pay’s leave management system not only simplifies the management of adoption leave but also bolsters the overall leave policy framework of an organisation, contributing to a supportive and family-friendly workplace culture.


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