These changes will affect fathers whose babies are born from 1 January next year. Currently, only one week of paternity leave is mandatory.
Senior Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office Josephine Teo said that the government would pay for the additional week of paternity leave with a cap of $2,500 per week including CPF contributions. If the working father earns more than this, the employer will have to cover the difference.
Working mothers will also be allowed to share up to four weeks of paid maternity leave with their husbands, with this change taking effect from July next year. This shared maternity leave will be government funded. At present, married couples can only share one week out of 16.
These new measures are on top of the six days of paid childcare leave (for children below seven years old) and six days of unpaid infant care leave (for children under two years old) for which parents are eligible.
“We have timed this round of leave enhancements to give employers some time to adjust and plan,” said Teo. “We hope employers that are in a position to do so start to extend paternity leave even before legislation kicks in so that parents of children born earlier can also benefit.”
By doing this, firms can send out clear signals to staff that they are committed to a family-friendly work setting, she added.
To qualify for paternity, shared paternity, childcare and infant care leave, a working father must be married to the child’s mother and have worked for his employer for at least three consecutive months prior to the child’s birth. The child must also be a Singaporean citizen.
The government also announced that mothers of adopted children will now get 12 weeks of paid leave to take care of their child. This is increased from the current four-week period offered.
For the first two adopted children, the government will fund eight weeks of adoptive leave while the employer funds the remaining four. For the third and subsequent child, the government will fund the full 12 weeks of leave.
Adoptive fathers will also be able to share up to four weeks of the newly announced 12-week leave period with their wives.
For parents to qualify, their adopted child must be less than one year old and have been adopted on or after 1 July next year. The child must also be a Singaporean citizen.
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Working fathers will receive two weeks of paternity leave to take care of their children, according to an announcement made in the Committee of Supply Debate yesterday (12 April).