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20 FAQs about Maternity Leave for Mothers in Singapore

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With many questions surrounding maternity leave in Singapore, many pregnant mothers-to-be in Singapore are hard pressed for some clear answers regarding the maternity leave they are entitled to.

Depending on the circumstances of your pregnancy, it may affect the maternity leave you are granted.

Read more: 20 FAQs about Paternity Leave for Fathers in Singapore

Thus, in this article, we aim to clear the air on everything maternity-leave related so that you are in the know of your rights to your maternity leave. 

The Ministry of Manpower provides guidelines for mothers who are looking to apply for maternity leave in Singapore.

1. Who is eligible for paid Maternity leave in Singapore?

You are eligible for paid maternity leave if you meet the following requirements:

  • Your child is a Singapore citizen.
  • For employees: you have served your employer for a continuous period of at least 3 months before the birth of your child.
  • For self-employed: you have been engaged in your work for at least 3 continuous months and have lost income during the maternity leave period.
  • You have given your employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave, and informed them as soon as possible of your delivery. Otherwise, you are only entitled to half the payment during maternity leave, unless you have a good enough reason for not giving the notice.

 

2. How many days of maternity leave are Mothers entitled to?

The entitlement for mothers is 16 weeks of government paid maternity leave (GPPL) if you fulfill the eligibility criteria above.

If your child is not a Singapore citizen, you are eligible for 12 weeks of government paid maternity leave (GPPL) in accordance with the Employment Act if you fulfill the eligibility criteria.

 

3. Am I eligible for maternity leave if my child is still-born?

You are eligible for full maternity leave if the child is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. The stillbirth will not be counted in determining your eligibility for maternity leave benefits for the next delivery.

 

4. Am I eligible for maternity leave if I adopt a child?

No, you are not eligible for maternity leave. 

However, you are entitled to adoption leave if you meet the eligibility criteria. Adoption leave provides 12 weeks of paid adoption leave to bond with and care for their adopted infants.

 

5. What is the criteria for adoption leave?

As the mother of an adopted child, you are entitled to adoption leave of 12 weeks if you meet the following criteria:

  • Your adopted child is below the age of 12 months at the point of your formal intent to adopt. The “formal intent to adopt” happens:
    • For a local child: when you file the court application to adopt.
    • For a foreign child: when in-principle approval is granted for a Dependant’s Pass.
  • The adopted child is a Singapore citizen.
  • If the child is a foreigner:
    • One of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore citizen.
    • The child must become a Singapore citizen within 6 months of the adoption.
  • You must have served your employer or been self-employed for a continuous period of at least 3 months immediately before your formal intent to adopt.
  • The adoption order must be passed within 1 year from the formal intent to adopt.

 

6. How can I use or split up my maternity leave?

You have the option of taking your maternity leave either in one block or spread out over 12 months. You should work out an arrangement with your employer that suits both your needs.

Maternity Leave

Leave Arrangement

16 weeks

12 weeks

By default
Includes non-working days, rest days and public holidays.

Take the 16 weeks continuously, starting 4 weeks before delivery.

Take the 12 weeks continuously, starting 4 weeks before delivery.

By mutual agreement with your employer
Includes non-working days, rest days and public holidays.

Start anytime within 4 weeks before delivery.

Example: If the expected date of delivery is 7 July, you can start your leave between 9 June and 7 July.

You must take the first 8 weeks in one continuous stretch.

You can take the last 8 weeks flexibly over 12 months from your child’s birth.

Start anytime within 4 weeks before delivery.

Example: If the expected date of delivery is 7 July, you can start your leave between 9 June and 7 July.

You must take the first 8 weeks in one continuous stretch.

You can take the last 4 weeks flexibly over 12 months from your child’s birth.

Flexible leave calculation
Doesn’t include non-working days, rest days and public holidays.

8 weeks x the number of working days in the week, capped at 48 working days.

4 weeks x the number of working days in the week, capped at 24 working days.

 

7. I had a miscarriage, am I eligible for maternity leave?

If you’re still working, you can take sick leave to recover. However, you are not eligible for maternity leave.

 

8. I’m an unmarried mother, and my child is a Singapore citizen. Am I eligible for extended Government-Paid Maternity Leave?

Yes, you are entitled to government paid maternity leave.

 

9. Can I choose not to take the full period of maternity leave?

Maternity leave is meant for mothers to recuperate and spend time with their newborn.

You are encouraged to use your full maternity leave entitlement. If you choose not to take your full entitlement, any unused maternity leave will be forfeited.

Instead of giving up your maternity leave, you could consider taking the last 8 weeks of leave flexibly over a 12-month period.

 

10. Does maternity leave include rest days and Public holidays?

For practical purposes, maternity leave, when taken in a block period, includes any non-working days, rest days and public holidays which fall during that period.

The 16 weeks of maternity leave is equivalent to 112 days (7 days a week x 16 weeks) and the 112 days maternity leave would include rest days, off days and public holidays.

If a flexible maternity leave arrangement has been agreed upon, the maternity leave would be computed based on working days and would be in addition to non-working days, rest days and public holidays.

The number of days of maternity leave the employee is entitled to consume flexibly should be equal to the number of working days she would be away from work if she were to consume the extended leave in a block. 

For example, if a female employee normally works a 5.5 work-week and is taking the last 4 weeks of her maternity leave flexibly, the number of days of maternity leaves to be flexed is to be computed as follows:

4 weeks X 5.5 days = 22 working days

 

11. If I change jobs while on maternity leave, can I transfer my remaining maternity leave to the new company?

No. If you switch jobs before completing your maternity leave, you won’t be able to transfer any unused leave to your new company.

 

12. Can my employer fire me because I’m pregnant?

A pregnant employee has maternity protection if she has been at her job for at least 3 months.

This means that if a pregnant employee is dismissed without sufficient cause, or is retrenched, the employer is still required to pay her maternity benefits.

 

13. How is my maternity leave pay calculated if I’m a commission-earning employee?

If commission is a component of your basic salary, and not an incentive, it should be part of your maternity leave pay.

Your maternity leave salary will be based on your average monthly commission for the 6 months before you go on leave.

For example, your base salary is $1,000 per month, before commission. In the last 6 months before maternity leave, you received three commission payments: $1,500, $1000 and $500, for a total of $3,000. 

This means your total salary for the last 6 months is $9000. Therefore your maternity leave salary will be $1,500 per month.

 

14. I’m a foreigner and/or PR, am I entitled for maternity leave?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria

Regardless of your nationality, you are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if you are covered by the Employment Act and have served the employer for at least 3 months.

 

15. I’m on a work permit holder working in Singapore, am I entitled for maternity leave?

As a work permit holder in Singapore, you cannot get pregnant or deliver a child in Singapore during the validity of your Work Permit unless you are already married to a Singapore citizen or permanent resident with the approval of MOM.

This applies even after your Work Permit has expired, is cancelled or revoked.

 

16. Can I get maternity leave if my child is not a Singapore citizen?

You are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if you are covered by the Employment Act and meet the eligibility criteria.

 

17. I’ve been dismissed from my job during pregnancy. What can I do?

If you’ve worked for your employer for at least 3 months, you’re protected against wrongful dismissal during pregnancy, and your employer is required to pay maternity benefits.

If you feel that you’ve been wrongfully dismissed or have a dispute with your employer over maternity leave, you can file a claim with TADM.

 

18. If I resign while I’m on maternity leave, can I use the leave period to shorten my resignation notice?

No. You cannot use your maternity leave to shorten your notice period.

However, you can use your maternity leave during the notice period. The period when you are on maternity leave will count towards your service of the notice period.

All maternity leave not used before your last day of employment will be forfeited.

 

19. Will my annual leave be pro-rated when I go on maternity leave?

No. You will still earn annual leave during your maternity leave period.

 

20. I gave birth prematurely, how should I count my maternity leave?

For premature births, if you meet the eligibility criteria, your maternity leave should start on the birth date of your child, or earlier if you have a mutual agreement with your employer.

 

Maternity leave in Singapore

Knowing your rights to maternity leave is crucial especially since postnatal can be demanding both physically and financially on new mothers.

Maternity leave can significantly help with not just your recuperation after delivery, but also allows that much needed time for things to settle down with the new addition to the family.

Now that you have learnt about the requirement and your rights to maternity leave in Singapore, do ensure that you are given the maternity leave that is rightfully yours. 

 
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