More unpaid infantcare leave available to public sector officers in Singapore

Working in the public sector and planning to have a child? A new scheme that was announced on 2 March will allow you to spend more time with your newborn child.

Under this scheme, which kicks off in July 2017, public servants and their spouses can get an additional four weeks of unpaid infant care leave, making it a total of up to six months (26 weeks) of guaranteed parental leave per couple.

These four additional weeks can only be taken during the child’s first year and can be utilised by either mother or father, and all applications for this parental leave have to be granted as long as reasonable notice has been given.

Currently, working parents enjoy 20 weeks of paid leave after their children is born and two weeks of unpaid leave. This comprises paid maternity leave (16 weeks for mothers), paid paternity leave (two weeks for fathers), paid childcare leave (one week each per parent) and unpaid infant care leave (one week per parent).

The paid paternity leave was introduced early this year.

Speaking during parliament, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Josephine Teo shared that the move comes as parents feel more at ease leaving their children in infant care centres only when their children turn six months old. The scheme also hopes to ease new parents back to regular work and provide better support to them at the workplace.

The scheme will last for three years and is part of the Singapore government’s push to support young couples who want to have children. Other initiatives that have been introduced this year include faster access to public housing for couples with children and more places in infantcare centres.

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