If an employee is covered by the Child Development Co-Savings Act, they are entitled to six days unpaid infant care leave per year. The Act covers all parents of Singapore citizens, provided the following three requirements are met:
- The child, including stepchildren and legally adopted children, is younger than 2 years old;
- The child is a Singapore citizen; and
- The parent has been employed by their current employer for a continuous period of at least three months.
Infant care leave is capped at six days per year, irrespective of the number of children an employee has, and the entitlement is not doubled for widowed or divorced parents. This amount can also not be pro rated in cases where the employee has worked less than three months.
Parents of Singapore children below the age of two are entitled to six days unpaid infant care leave as well as six days paid childcare leave.
Fixed-term contract, part-time and temporary employees will be entitled to unpaid infant care leave if they have served the current employer for at least three months. The leave year for infant care leave will be any 12 month period agreed upon by both the employer and the employee – if there is no agreement, the leave year will be the calendar year by default. For part-time employees, the leave should be adjusted for the number of working hours in such a manner that their entitlement equates to that of a full-time employee.
An employee may use the unpaid infant care leave to spend time with their child as they wish; a child medical certificate is not required. However, the leave is subject to the employer’s approval; therefore, the employee should give the employer sufficient notice and the employer should discuss it with the employee in order to mutually agree on a suitable time to take the leave. Where the leave is needed to attend to matters that cannot be postponed, the employer is strongly encouraged to grant leave.
The leave is not transferable between spouses and any unused leave by either parent will lapse at the end of each agreed 12 month period. Furthermore, if an employee changes employers, any unused infant care leave will not be carried over – the new employer should grant the leave in accordance with the statutory requirement once the employee has worked for them for three months.
For more information about infant care leave, please visit this page of the Ministry of Manpower.