Singapore’s parents without parental leave may get cash benefits

Out-Law News | 15 Jul 2021 | 9:21 am | 1 min. read

Parents of Singaporean children who were not previously entitled to maternity and paternity leave may now be entitled to cash benefits in lieu of such leave, if a newly introduced bill is passed in parliament.

Under the proposed amendments to the Child Development Co-Savings Act, eligible parents who currently do not qualify for paternity or adoption leave due to their employment arrangements may qualify for maternity, paternity and adoption benefits capped at S$30,000 ($22,000) based on their income.

Parents of Singaporean children are not qualified to get the money if they are on multiple short-term contracts or their employment contracts may have expired before the birth or adoption of their child.

These cash benefits under the new law are similar to the current government-paid maternity leave benefits for working mothers, but with cash instead of the government-paid share of leave. This is in the circumstance that their employment status does not qualify them for leave.

Eligible biological or adoptive fathers can receive cash benefits equivalent to two weeks of paternity leave under the new law. Payment is capped at S$2,500 ($1,900) each week, including Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions.

Eligible adoptive mothers can receive cash benefits equivalent to eight or 12 weeks of maternity leave, with payment capped at S$20,000 ($15,000) or S$30,000 ($22,000) depending on how many children they have and their average income.

Subject to other existing criteria, the new law applies to parents who formally intend to adopt or whose child's date of birth or estimated date of birth is on or after 1 January this year. Parents must have worked for at least 90 days in the 12 months before their child's birth or formal intent to adopt to qualify. Qualified parents may apply from 1 December this year.

Employers who voluntarily grant leave to their employees who have not met the minimum three-month employment criterion to qualify for paternity schemes will also be paid under the new law.

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “These changes are a positive development, and they reflect that the law is keeping pace with the different types of employment arrangements which are present in our workforce today.”