Pregnant, or planning a pregnancy in Singapore? If you’re working, you are probably wondering “how much time off do I get for maternity leave?” We asked Pacific Prime Singapore to share some helpful information on maternity leave rights in Singapore, maternity insurance and return-to-work advice. Here are six tips to guide you!
#1 Check if you’re eligible for maternity leave
If you’re working and planning a pregnancy in Singapore, you’ll need to know your rights when it comes to taking time off. But, don’t not assume that you’ll automatically be eligible for maternity leave if you’re working for a Singapore-based employer. Working mums are entitled to either 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave or 12 weeks of maternity leave, depending on certain eligibility criteria.
How much time do I get for maternity leave?
You’re entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if:
- you’ve worked for your employer or been self-employed for at least three continuous months before the birth of your child.
You’re entitled to 16 weeks maternity leave if:
- you’ve worked for your employer or been self-employed for at least three continuous months before the birth of your child; and,
- your child is a Singapore citizen.
Expat mums working in Singapore who meet the above eligibility criteria are entitled to at least 12 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of nationality.
How much time do I get for maternity leave if I’m not married?
Whether or not you’re married or unmarried no longer matters in Singapore. Previously, a mum had to be legally married to the father of her child in order to benefit from the full 16 weeks. However, single mums are now entitled to the same maternity leave as their married counterparts.
#2 Decide when you want to take maternity leave
By default, your maternity leave starts four weeks before delivery, and continues for another eight to 12 weeks after delivery. If you would like a different arrangement, you should discuss this with your employer well in advance.
What’s more, you may also be able to share up to four weeks of your 16 week maternity leave with the father of your child, if:
- the father is employed;
- the child is a Singapore citizen; and
- you are married to the father of your child.
#3 Prepare for your absence at work
If a temporary staff member will fill in for you during your maternity leave, aim to make this transition as smooth as possible. It will save you from answering phone calls or replying to emails when you should be focusing on your little bundle of joy. Hand over all the necessary tasks before you leave, and ensure that the staff member has all of the required information for the role.
While you may want (or need) to go back to work after giving birth, you’ll need to figure out what kind of working life you’d like. If your role can be done from home and/or if your employer is open to the idea of flexible working arrangements, it may be worth suggesting, as it’ll give you more control over when and where you work.
#4 Sort out childcare – and your support system
They say “it takes a village” to raise a child! Nothing could be more true, particularly for a working mum. It’s a good idea to sort out childcare in advance (don’t add more to your postnatal anxieties!). So, start interviewing during your pregnancy in Singapore. Once you’ve got childcare sorted, you’ll need to establish a routine and give clear instructions about how to care for the baby.
Additionally, having a good support system is key, not only for childcare, but also for your sanity and wellbeing during this overwhelming period. After all, motherhood can take a serious toll on you physically, psychologically and emotionally. So, whether it’s in the form of a new mums group or your partner being there for you, it’s very important for you to feel like you’re not alone.
#5 Plan your return to work after maternity leave
It’s perfectly normal to be anxious about going back to work after getting used to your sole role as “mum”. You might find it difficult to leave your child, or you may find yourself lacking confidence due to changes that have occurred in the workplace while you were on maternity leave. If your company offers training, induction or counselling for new mothers, make sure you take advantage of it!
Also, depending on the role you’re in, there may be ways to gradually ease you back in. Besides discussing flexible working arrangements in advance with your employer, there may be other preparations you can make to smooth the transition – for example, working on smaller projects before becoming fully involved, or opting for morning shifts if your job demands shift work.
#6 Look into maternity insurance
Having a baby is already stressful enough. Don’t let hospital bills add to the stress! So, if you’re pregnant or are planning a pregnancy in Singapore, it’s definitely worth considering a health insurance plan that includes maternity insurance. This will help offset some of the high costs of maternity care.
Pacific Prime Singapore offers a range of health insurance plans that include maternity insurance. Check out its dedicated Singapore Maternity Insurance Guide 2021 and reach out to the team for impartial advice and a free quote.
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