In Singapore, adhering to childcare leave regulations is a legal requirement for employers. This article serves as a guide to help employers understand their obligations and avoid penalties related to childcare leave.
Understanding Childcare Leave Entitlements
Under Singapore's Part IX of the Employment Act and the Part III of the Child Development Co-Savings Act, employers must provide eligible employees with up to 6 days of Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL) each year. The eligibility is determined by the citizenship of the child, not the parent.
Criteria for Childcare Leave
- Singapore Citizen children under 7 years: Up to 6 days per year.
- Non-citizen children under 7 years: 2 days per year.
- Maximum cap of 42 days per parent under the Child Development Co-Savings Act.
Employer's Role in Childcare Leave
Employers are responsible for the first 3 days of childcare leave, while the government reimburses the remaining days, capped at $500 per day (including CPF contributions.)
Extended Childcare Leave
For children aged 7 to 12 years, employers must provide up to 2 days of Extended Childcare Leave (ECL) per year, fully reimbursed by the government.
Pro-Rating Childcare Leave
Employers should note that childcare leave entitlement increases gradually based on the number of months the employee has worked, starting from 2 days after 3 months of service to 6 days after 11 months.
Compliance with Childcare Leave Regulations
Employers must adhere to the following guidelines to ensure compliance:
- Granting Leave: Employers are legally obligated to grant childcare leave to eligible employees. Non-compliance can lead to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months.
- Record Keeping: Employers must obtain a declaration form from the employee and keep it for 5 years for verification.
- Claim Submission: Claims for government reimbursement must be submitted via the Government Paid Leave (GPL) portal within 3 months after the employee's relevant period.
Restrictions on Childcare Leave Usage
Employees cannot transfer or carry forward unused childcare leaves, use them to offset notice periods, or exceed the annual limit even if switching jobs.
- Part-Time Employees: Childcare leave for part-time employees should be adjusted based on their working hours.
- Adopted Children: Employees with adopted children are eligible for GPCL once the adoption order is passed.
Conclusion: Ensuring Compliance for a Supportive Work Environment
As an employer in Singapore, understanding and complying with childcare leave regulations is crucial. This not only avoids legal penalties but also fosters a supportive and family-friendly work environment.