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Navigating Maternity Leave in Singapore: A Holistic Guide for Expecting Mothers

As a working mother in Singapore, you're entitled to Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML), which varies in duration depending on your child's citizenship and other criteria. You're eligible for 16 weeks of GPML if:


  • Your child is a Singapore citizen.

  • As an employee, you've worked for your current employer for at least three continuous months before your child's birth.

  • As a self-employed individual, you've been actively working for at least three continuous months and have experienced income loss during the maternity leave period.

  • You've notified your employer of your leave at least one week before starting it and informed them as soon as possible after delivery. Failure to do so may reduce your leave payment to half unless you have a valid reason for the delay.


Your employer will compensate you during this period and later claim reimbursement from the Government under the Government-Paid Maternity Leave scheme.


Planning your maternity leave


You have options in how you take your maternity leave, either in one continuous block or spread out over 12 months. Here’s how you can plan:


  • By default - You can take the 16 or 12 weeks continuously, starting four weeks before your due date. This includes non-working days, rest days, and public holidays.

  • By mutual agreement with your employer - You can start your leave anytime within four weeks before your due date. The first 8 weeks must be taken continuously, while the remaining weeks can be used flexibly over 12 months from your child’s birth.

  • By flexible calculation – You can choose to spread out your maternity leave credits. In this arrangement, non-working days, rest days, and public holidays are excluded. For a 16-week leave, this equates to 8 weeks multiplied by your weekly working days, capped at 48 working days. For a 12-week leave, it’s 4 weeks multiplied by your weekly working days, capped at 24 working days.


Understanding maternity leave entitlements in special situations


Maternity leave benefits can vary in unique situations, as detailed here. To summarise:


  • If you're not eligible for GPML at the time of delivery - If you are unmarried to the child's father or if the child isn't a Singapore citizen at birth, you can still qualify for Government-Paid Maternity Leave within 12 months of the child's birth. In this case, eligibility for the remaining leave starts once all criteria are met. The remaining leave must also be taken before the child's first birthday. Note that lapsed maternity leave cannot be reclaimed. For instance, if your child is granted Singapore citizenship six months following their birth, you are then entitled to use the remaining portion of your maternity leave only within the six months after the citizenship is granted.

  • If you’re a foreigner or permanent resident working in Singapore - All employees covered by the Employment Act are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of nationality, after serving at least three months with their employer. You are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave if your child is a Singapore citizen.


  • If you’re a single or unmarried mother - Up to 16 weeks of maternity leave is available if eligibility criteria are met.


  • If you’re a contract, temporary, or part-time employee - Eligibility for maternity leave and payment at the gross rate applies if you meet the criteria and normally work under contract.

  • If you’re on probation - You are entitled to maternity leave if you’ve been working at your employer for at least 3 months before your child’s birth and you meet the eligibility criteria.

  • If you give birth to twins - Twin or triplet births are considered a single delivery, and double maternity benefits are not provided.

  • In cases of premature birth - Maternity leave for premature births starts on the child's birth date or earlier by mutual agreement with your employer, provided eligibility criteria are met.

  • In cases of stillbirth - Full maternity leave is granted for stillbirths or death of the child shortly after birth.

  • In cases of abortion or miscarriage - While you're not eligible for maternity leave, sick leave is available for recovery.

  • If you fall sick during maternity leave - Maternity leave does not entitle you to additional paid sick leave.



Maternity leave protections and obligations


As an employee with at least three months of service, you're protected against retrenchment and unfair dismissal during pregnancy. Your employer is obliged to continue your salary and cannot dismiss you while you're on maternity leave. If they do, they must pay the maternity benefits you're entitled to.


Note that you're not allowed to work for another employer during your maternity leave.


Filing an appeal in maternity leave disputes


If you face wrongful dismissal during pregnancy or are not paid your maternity leave benefits, you can file a claim at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management. To file a claim, you must be covered by the Employment Act or the Child Development Co-Savings Act.


Simplifying leave tracking with Adaptive Pay's leave management system


Many companies, especially SMEs, struggle with leave management due to limited HR resources and employee pools. This can lead to workflow disruptions and decreased productivity.


A robust leave management system is vital for any business to maintain productivity and employee well-being. Adaptive Pay’s leave management module offers:


  • Easy leave application and approval through a mobile app or web browser

  • Seamless integration of leave records with payroll and attendance

  • Customisable leave workflows to suit your business needs

  • A comprehensive view for managers to generate reports and manage staffing effectively


Experience the convenience and efficiency of Adaptive Pay’s leave management system by booking a demo today. This leave app can revolutionise how you manage maternity leave entitlements in Singapore, ensuring smooth operations and satisfied employees.

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