Childcare Leave In Singapore: 5 Things Every Working Parent Should Know

by 5 October 2022Knowledge & Insights

childcare leave singapore

All employers must ensure they comply with regulations regarding childcare leave in Singapore. Their policies must be geared towards maintaining a healthy work-life balance, especially for working parents.

Clear and comprehensive childcare leave policies are crucial for working parents to balance work and home life responsibilities. They must be able to take time off from work to accompany their children in important childhood events and milestones.

Similarly, parents must be informed about such policies. It is their right to make a living that does not clash with their responsibilities at home.

This guide briefly discusses childcare leave and extended childcare leave in Singapore. We’ll also discuss childcare leave entitlements, eligibility, and Government Paid Childcare Leave (GCPL). Read on.

1. To Whom Does Childcare Leave Apply To In Singapore?

The Child Development Co Savings Act (CDCA) sets out the framework for childcare leave in Singapore. It states that an employee will generally qualify for Government Paid Childcare Leave as long as they satisfy these requirements:

  • Have a child who is under 7 years old; or
  • Their youngest child must be 7 to 12 years old (for extended childcare leave).
  • The child must be a citizen of Singapore.
  • The child’s biological parents are legally married according to Singapore law.
  • (For employees) The working parent must have been employed for at least three consecutive months.
  • (For self employed working parents) They must have been working continuously for three months. They must also have significantly lost income after taking childcare leave.

Working parents can take 6 days of Government Paid Childcare Leave annually, as agreed upon with their employer. If there is no such agreement, the annual period will begin from 1 January until 31 December that year.

Childcare leave entitlements in Singapore apply, regardless of how many children the parent has. Similarly, the entitlements will not increase or decrease based on the number of children.

If both working parents are employed in the same company, each can still take six days of childcare leave. Two additional days of extended childcare leave may also apply if they satisfy the eligibility requirements.

2. Childcare Leave Entitlements Based On The Childcare Development Co Savings Act

extended childcare leave singapore

Parents with children under 7 can take 6 days of paid childcare leave each year until the child turns 7.

Here is the process for claiming childcare leave payments in Singapore:

  • The employer will pay for the first 3 days of childcare leave.
  • The Singapore Government will pay for the remaining 3 days.
  • Payments will not exceed $500 daily, including (Central Provident Fund) CPF contributions.

For example, if the child was born in January 2022, the working parents’ childcare leave will begin that same year. They can use up the rest of their childcare leave credits in 2028.

3. Childcare Leave Entitlements Based On The Employment Act

A non-Singapore citizen is also entitled to childcare leave in Singapore. According to the Employment Act, they can take 2 days of childcare leave until their child turns 7.

Probationary, temporary, contract or part-time employees will also be entitled to childcare leave. However, the number of credits will be based on their working hours.

4. Extended Childcare Leave In Singapore

If a working parent has a child in primary school, they are entitled to 2 days of extended childcare leave annually.

Similarly, the Government will pay for these 2 days (capped at $500 daily) in addition to CPF payments.

For example, if your child was born in January 2022, you can take childcare leave 6 times annually until 2028. The last 2 days of extended childcare leave can be used until 2034 or when the child turns 12.

Part-timers can take 2 days of extended childcare leave, depending on their work schedule. For instance, if a self employed parent works 5 hours daily, they will be entitled to 10 hours of extended childcare leave based on the following computation:

2 (extended childcare leave days) x 5 (hours of work daily) = 10 hours

5. Can Employees Claim Childcare Leave If They’ve Worked Less Than A Year?

how many days of childcare leave in singapore

New-hire working parents are still entitled to childcare leave, even if they have worked for less than 12 months or have plans on resigning from the company.

However, their entitlements will be prorated based on how many months they’ve been employed.

Here is a quick guide on the number of eligible childcare leave days based on months of employment:

  • 0 to 2 months – Ineligible
  • 3 to 4 months – 2 days
  • 5 to 6 months – 3 days
  • 7 to 8 months – 4 days
  • 9 to 10 months – 5 days
  • 11 to 12 months – 6 days

Working parents/employees who have rendered at least 3 months of work for the same employer, but are planning to resign in the same year, will be entitled to pro-rated childcare leave in Singapore.

Their allowable number of childcare leaves will be based on the months they’ve rendered in the same year of their resignation.

Below is a quick guide for better illustration:

  • 0 to 2 months – 2 days
  • 3 to 4 months – 2 days
  • 5 to 6 months – 3 days
  • 7 to 8 months – 4 days
  • 9 to 10 months – 5 days
  • 11 to 12 months – 6 days

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has a childcare leave calculator which you can use to calculate your annual entitlements.

Conclusion About Childcare Leave In Singapore

Children deserve to grow up in a healthy home environment with their primary caretakers: parents. Likewise, employers must extend benefits that give parents ample time to spend with their children whenever possible.

Although childcare leave is mandated in Singapore law, there may be instances wherein disputes arise between employer and employee. This could be stressful for both parties and lead to a communication breakdown.

Fortunately, there are legal remedies for parents who believe they’ve been wrongfully denied childcare leave benefits in Singapore.

If you’re in this situation, it’s best to seek advice from an experienced lawyer to help out.

Tembusu Law is a law firm in Singapore dedicated to providing clients with professional legal advice to sort out their cases. Get your free 30-minute consultation now and find out how we can solve the most pressing legal issues you may be dealing with.

Frequently Asked Questions About Childcare Leave In Singapore

How Do I Apply For Childcare Leave?

You can apply for childcare leave in Singapore by filling out the GCPL declaration form. Make sure you haven’t exceeded the maximum childcare leaves you can take. It’s also best to talk with your employer beforehand so they can verify your eligibility and set up alternative work arrangements.

What Happens If I Don’t Use My Childcare Leave Entitlement?

You cannot carry over any unused childcare leave credits to the following year. You also cannot cash them out or claim the allowance.

What Happens If My Employer Denies Me Childcare Leave?

There may be cases wherein the employer will not honour the childcare leave entitlements due to work-related circumstances. Therefore, employees are strongly encouraged to talk about their childcare leave plans with their employers beforehand. This is to avoid disputes and give employers time to approve such requests.

Childcare leave is a Government-mandated right and must be extended to any entitled employee. If your employer is unreasonably denying you this right, they can face a fine of $5,000, 6-month jail time, or both.

What Can I Do If I Can’t Take Paid Childcare Leave In Singapore?

If you can’t take paid childcare leave under any valid circumstances, you’re advised to find other childcare alternatives. For example, you may entrust your relatives or a domestic helper to care for your children. Or you may also place your children at a daycare centre.

Does The Government Pay For Childcare Leave?

Yes. Both childcare and extended childcare leave in Singapore are Government paid, with a limit of $500 daily, plus CPF disbursements.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.


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