Knowing how paternity leave works in Singapore is essential for soon-to-be fathers. With the government providing two weeks of paid paternity leave to eligible applicants, including those self-employed, you’ll have time to bond with your child and support your partner through this demanding time.
However, with many people’s professional and personal lives blending, knowing how best to navigate paternal leave alongside your work commitments can be challenging. Here, we explore how paternity leave works in Singapore and provide tips on organising it effectively with your employer.
How much paternity leave are fathers entitled to in Singapore?
Paternal leave in Singapore, otherwise known as the Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) scheme, is two weeks long, capped at a weekly rate of $2,500, including Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions.
However, you’ll need to review the following eligibility criteria before informing your boss of your intention to apply for paternity leave:
- The baby must be a Singaporean citizen.
- You must be married to the child’s mother between conception and birth.
- Fathers must have worked for the same employer continuously for 90 days or more before the birth of their child.
- Self-employed fathers must have worked for at least 90 days before the child’s birth, and must have lost income during the paternity leave period.
While you’re entitled to two weeks of GPPL, the number of days of leave you receive corresponds to the days you work in a standard week. If you work five days per week, you get ten days of paid leave, but if you typically work six days, you’ll receive 12 days of leave.
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How to use your paternity leave
You can use your GPPL in two ways: with or without a mutual agreement.
If you don’t come to an agreement with your boss, you can take two continuous weeks off within 16 weeks of your child’s birth. This is the default arrangement.
However, if you agree to a flexible arrangement, you can take two consecutive weeks’ leave within 12 months of the child’s birth.
You can also split the two weeks of paternal leave into working days and use them in any combination within 12 months of the child’s birth.
What about shared parental leave in Singapore?
New fathers in Singapore can also share up to four weeks of their wife’s 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) if the new mother decides to return to work early. This grants fathers, including those self-employed, a maximum of six weeks of paternity leave. The following criteria determine your eligibility for shared parental leave:
- The baby is a Singaporean citizen.
- The child’s mother qualifies for GPML.
- You’re lawfully married to the child’s mother.
Like the GPPL, soon-to-be fathers can take a continuous stretch of four weeks’ leave within 12 months of their child’s birth.
If you come to an agreement with your employer, you can take one to four week-long blocks within 12 months after the child is born. The weekly rate is capped at $2,500, including CPF.
Tips for planning your paternity leave
Expecting a baby soon? Here are some helpful tips to ensure you plan your departure with your employer to cause the least fuss.
1. Communicate timing with the boss
Don’t leave discussions about paternal leave until the last minute. Instead, communicate openly with your employer about taking time off in the near future. This way, you can ensure everyone knows how to manage your temporary farewell.
2. Handover your tasks
Conducting a proper handover of your responsibilities before you leave is the ideal way to take paternity leave. Working alongside a colleague, you can get them up to speed on your current tasks and introduce them to stakeholders who might be concerned about your absence.
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3. Keep in the loop
Paternity leave is for spending time with your partner and child. Yet keeping up to date with the latest events at work means you won’t get caught behind once you return. Just be careful not to slide back into old habits about checking your email or getting dragged into work calls.
4. Plan your return
Two weeks might not seem like a massive amount of time, but countless things can change in a busy workplace during that period. Planning your return to the office before you depart for paternity leave ensures others can factor your presence into upcoming projects and schedules.
With your little one on the way, it can be both exciting and stressful, especially with work. As long as you begin working on your schedules ahead of time, you can ensure you have completed all the necessary before you head off for your paternal leave.
Teaming up with your wife to plan her maternal leave alongside your own time off can help make the transition more manageable.