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Navigating Unpaid Infant Care Leave: A Comprehensive Guide for Parents in Singapore

Updated: Jul 1

On 1 January 2024, the provision for unpaid infant care leave increased by an additional six days per parent per year—a major enhancement in the support for working parents with infants.

 

This adjustment means each parent is now entitled to 12 days of unpaid infant care leave annually during their child's first two years.

 

In this guide, we discuss the updated policy, its implications for families and employers, and the crucial role of efficient leave management systems and e-leave apps in facilitating this transition.

 

Eligibility for unpaid infant care leave in Singapore

 

To qualify for unpaid infant care leave, parents must meet several criteria:

 

  • The child must be below two years of age, including legally adopted children or step-children.

  • The child must be a Singapore citizen.

  • The parent must have been employed for a continuous period of at least three months.


How to apply for unpaid infant care leave in Singapore


Parents wishing to take unpaid infant care leave must notify their employer and obtain approval.

 

Employers are encouraged to grant leave for critical matters such as immunisations and medical appointments. A streamlined leave management process can significantly ease this step.

 

The importance of unpaid infant care leave

 

The government's decision to increase unpaid infant care leave to 12 days per parent annually marks a significant step towards supporting working families. It acknowledges the crucial early years of a child's development and the challenges parents face in balancing work and family life.

 

  • Strengthens the parent-child bond - Additional leave allows parents to spend more quality time with their newborns, fostering emotional and social well-being.

  • Supports early childhood development - More time at home contributes to nurturing care and engaging activities that boost cognitive, social, and emotional growth.

  • Improves maternal health - Extended leave can reduce stress and anxiety for mothers.

  • Promotes gender equality – The benefit encourages fathers to take an active childcare role and support balanced family responsibilities.

  • Benefits the economy - Enhanced childcare support keeps parents active in the workforce, contributing to economic growth.

 

Implications for employers

 

The expansion of unpaid infant care leave also presents implications for employers. On a positive note, these family-friendly policies can boost loyalty and, reduce turnover and may even make a company more appealing to job seekers. Supporting working parents also promotes diversity and inclusion.

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