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Adoption leave guide in Singapore

Parenthood is a transformative experience, and for those who opt for adoption, it presents joys and unique challenges. As an employer in Singapore, it is crucial to acknowledge and support employees embarking on this remarkable path.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recognises the importance of adoption and offers adoption leave to assist employees during this process. From eligibility criteria to leave entitlements, this guide will provide everything an employer needs to know to create a supportive environment for your employees who are adoptive parents!

What is adoption leave?

In Singapore, adoption leave is a valuable entitlement available to eligible adoptive mothers, including self-employed individuals. Understanding the significance of creating a supportive environment during the initial stages of adoption, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) mandates that adoptive mothers are entitled to 12 weeks of paid adoption leave.

Who is eligible for adoption leave?

To qualify for adoption leave in Singapore, your employee should meet the following requirements:

  • Age of the Adopted Child: The child that your employee is adopting should be below the age of 12 months at the point of her formal intent to adopt.
    • For a local child: It occurs when she files the court application to adopt.
    • For a foreign child: It happens when in-principle approval is granted for a Dependant's Pass.
  • Citizenship of the Adopted Child:
    • The adopted child must be a Singapore citizen.
    • In the case of a foreign child:
      • At least one of the adoptive parents must be a Singapore citizen.
      • The child must acquire Singapore citizenship within 6 months of the adoption.
  • Employment Requirements:
    • To be eligible for adoption leave, the employee must have served your company for a continuous period of at least 3 months immediately before her formal intent to adopt. This ensures that she has established a work relationship and contributed to the stability of her employment status during the adoption process.
  • Adoption Order Timeline:
    • The adoption order must be passed within 1 year from the formal intent to adopt. This time frame allows for the completion of the adoption process and ensures that the child's legal status is finalised.

What is the adoption leave entitlement for eligible employees?

If your employee’s formal intent to adopt takes place on or after 1 July 2017, she is entitled to 12 weeks of adoption leave as a mother, capped at $10,000 (including CPF) for every 4-week leave taken.

Your employee can start her adoption leave from her formal intent to adopt, and she must consume her adoption leave before the child’s first birthday.

Are part-time employees entitled to adoption leave?

Yes, part-time employees in Singapore are also entitled to 12 weeks of adoption leave, which is adjusted based on their number of working hours.

Here’s the formula to calculate adoption leave for part-time employees:

(Number of hours a part-time employee has to work per week × 52 weeks) / (Number of hours a similar full-time employee has to work per week × 52 weeks) x 12 weeks of adoption leave x Number of hours a similar full-time employee has to work a day


A part-time employee works 5 hours a day for 3 days per week, while a similar full-time employee works 8 hours a day for 5 days per week.

Number of hours the part-time employee works per week = 5 hours/day x 3 days/week = 15 hours/week

Number of hours the full-time employee works per week = 8 hours/day x 5 days/week = 40 hours/week

12 weeks of adoption leave x 5 working days/week = 60 days of adoption leave

Using the above formula, we have:

(15 hours/week x 52 weeks) / (40 hours/week x 52 weeks) x 60 days of adoption leave x 8 hours/day

= 180 hours

Therefore, the part-time employee would be eligible for 180 hours of adoption leave.

Tip: Looking to hire part-time employees? Learn everything you need to know in our guide to hiring part-time employees in Singapore!

How can my employee apply for adoption leave?

To apply for adoption leave, the employee must submit the completed declaration form (AL1) along with all required supporting documents to the employer. The application should follow the employer's designated leave application procedures.

What is my obligation as an employer regarding adoption leave?

As an employer, you will continue to pay your employee’s usual monthly salary during the leave period and claim the following reimbursement from the government:

Births Paid by employer Reimbursed by government Maximum reimbursement
First and second First 4 weeks Last 8 weeks $20,000 per child
Third and subsequent - All 12 weeks $30,000 per child

How do I claim adoption leave reimbursement as an employer?

  1. Obtain the declaration form (AL1) and supporting documents from your employee and verify their eligibility for adoption leave.
    • The declaration form must be kept for 5 years from the last day of the relevant period for audit purposes.
  2. Submit your claim for reimbursement online via the Government-Paid Leave (GPL) Portal no later than 3 months after the last day of the 12-month period.
  3. Check your application status on the GPL Portal. A notification will be sent to you and your employee once your application is processed.

Tip: Find out how you can support your employees who are working parents in our guide “Maternity, paternity and childcare leave in Singapore - What every employer must know

Simplify employee leave tracking with Payboy’s leave management system!

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often find leave management to be a pain point, and we can understand why:

  • SMEs don’t have as much HR resources as larger businesses. As a result, they often have to rely on manual leave processes, which can be both time-consuming and error-prone.
  • SMEs often have a more limited pool of employees to choose from when someone goes on leave. This can lead to disruptions in workflow and decreased productivity.

If leave isn't managed properly, it can have a negative impact on productivity and morale. Therefore, good HR software is an essential tool for any business that wants to stay on top of its leave entitlements and ensure its employees are getting the rest they deserve. 

Here are some benefits of using our leave management module:

Manage leaves digitally

Our leave management module is designed to streamline the leave management process, making it easy for employees to apply for leave and check leave balances, as well as for employers to approve and manage leave requests.

Employees can also easily submit supporting documents or certificates via the mobile app, so that all the documents are stored in a central database. No more missing documents!

Sync seamlessly with Shift Scheduling and Payroll Processing modules

Shift scheduling and payroll calculation can be time-consuming and stressful while managing different leave types and requests. With Payboy HR software, when leaves are approved, the employee’s availability will be automatically updated in the Shift Scheduling module, and any encashed or unpaid leave will be calculated in the Payroll Processing module. 

Customise the leave policy that best fits your business needs

We'll provide you with a MOM-compliant setup to start with, but we are also ready to assist you in customising your leave policy to fit your business requirements. Check out how to customise settings for each leave type with Payboy!

Our Payboy Support Centre also helps to address most of the FAQs regarding other statutory leave entitlements asked by our customers:

Streamline your HR processes with Payboy today!

As a PSG-approved HRMS, Payboy provides a robust system to help you manage your HR tasks so that you can focus on your business and people!

With our wide range of modules, you can customise a solution to meet the specific needs of your business:

Payroll Processing | Leave Management | Claims Management | Applicant Tracking

Time Attendance | Shift Scheduling | Appraisal System | Inventory Management

Project Costing | Training Management | Benefits

Find out how you can do it all with Payboy

Reach out to us if you are keen for a free demo on how we can help you save hours and give you some peace of mind on payroll and other HR matters so that you can focus on your business and people.
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