New Bill will give parents without maternity or paternity leave cash benefits

Reimbursement is capped at $2,500 per week, inclusive of Central Provident Fund contributions. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - A new Bill introduced on Monday (July 5) will give some parents, including those who adopt, cash benefits if their current employment does not qualify them for maternity and paternity leave.

The proposed amendments to the Child Development Co-Savings Act was tabled for a first reading in Parliament by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

The changes will allow parents who are currently not eligible for paternity or adoption leave due to certain employment arrangements to qualify for paternity and adoption benefits of up to $30,000, calculated based on their income.

Some parents presently do not qualify for the benefits, as they may be on multiple short-term contracts or their employment contracts may have expired before the birth or adoption of their child.

These cash benefits under the new law are similar to the current government-paid maternity benefit for working mothers, but with cash given in lieu of the government-paid share of leave.

This is if their employment circumstances do not qualify them for leave.

Natural or adoptive fathers can receive cash benefits equivalent to two weeks of paternity leave under the new law.

Reimbursement is capped at $2,500 per week, inclusive of Central Provident Fund contributions.

Adoptive mothers can receive cash benefits equivalent to eight or 12 weeks of maternity leave, with reimbursement capped at $20,000 or $30,000, depending on how many children they have. The amount also depends on their average income.

Similar benefits were previously given only to natural mothers who are working, via the existing government-paid maternity benefit.

It provides them with up to $40,000 for each child, depending on their birth order as well as the mother's income.

The new law applies to parents whose formal intent to adopt or whose child's date of birth or estimated date of delivery is on or after Jan 1 this year.

To qualify, parents must have worked for at least 90 days in the 12 months before their child's birth or formal intent to adopt. Eligible parents may apply from Dec 1 this year.

Parents who have been retrenched, but who have unconsumed parental leave, will also be granted cash benefits.

Employers who voluntarily grant leave to their employees who have not met the minimum three-month employment criterion to qualify for parental leave schemes will also be reimbursed under the new law.

"This signals the Government's support of pro-family employers," said MSF.

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