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Maternity leave: A guide for employers in Singapore

Bringing a new life into the world is a joyous occasion, and as an employer in Singapore, it's important to support your employees during this significant phase of their lives. Maternity leave stands as a vital benefit, granting new mothers the opportunity to focus on their physical and emotional recovery, nurturing a strong parent-child bond, and ensuring their job security. In this guide, we'll navigate the intricacies of maternity leave in Singapore, addressing common queries and providing insights on how to best support your employees through this pivotal life event.

What are the maternity leave eligibility and entitlement in Singapore?

As an employer, it's important to understand that your employees who are working mothers may be eligible for either 16 weeks or 12 weeks of maternity leave, depending on them fulfilling certain criteria.

To qualify for the full 16 weeks of maternity leave, your employee must meet the following conditions:

  1. Your employee must have completed at least 3 continuous months of service with your company before her child's birth.
  2. Her child must be a Singapore citizen.
  3. The child must be born or have an estimated delivery date (EDD) on or after 1 January 2017.


  1. If your employee hasn't worked at your company for at least 3 months, she will only be eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.
  2. If the child is not a Singapore citizen, your employee will only be eligible for 12 weeks of maternity leave. 
  3. If your employee is not lawfully married to the child's father, she will still be eligible for 16 weeks of maternity leave. 

For clarity, you may check MOM’s official website to determine your employee’s eligibility and entitlement for maternity leave.

When does maternity leave start?

Maternity leave can start anytime, within 4 weeks before the expected delivery date.

Example: If the expected date of delivery is 1 October, the employee can start her maternity leave between 3 September and 1 October.

Are weekends counted as maternity leave?

Weekends and public holidays are counted as part of maternity leave in Singapore. The leave period can start 4 weeks before the expected delivery date and extend for at least 8 weeks after childbirth. This means that weekends and public holidays that fall within this period are included in the total leave duration.

Employers should consider this when planning for their employees' absence and ensure that appropriate work arrangements are made to cover the absence during this time.

Can maternity leave be taken in parts?

Yes, the employee has the option to take her maternity leave either in one block or spread out over 12 months.

If the maternity leave is to be taken in parts based on mutual agreement with the employer,

  • the first 8 weeks must be taken in one continuous stretch and
  • the last 8 weeks can be taken flexibly over 12 months from the child’s birth.

How do I calculate maternity leave dates in Singapore?

Here’s an example to illustrate the calculation of maternity leave dates!

Sarah, who is a full-time employee at an SME:

  • is a Singaporean citizen
  • has worked for over 3 continuous months for her current employer
  • is lawfully married to the child's father
  • is going to have her first child
  • expected delivery date: 1 July 2023

Based on MOM’s guidelines, Sarah will be entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. Her maternity leave will start from 3 June 2023 onwards (4 weeks before the expected delivery date) and she has to use her maternity leave by 30 June 2024.

Her other maternity leave options are:

Option Date
By default:Take 16 weeks continuously, starting 4 weeks before delivery From 3 June 2023 to 22 September 2023
By mutual agreement:Take the last 8 weeks flexibly within 12 months of delivery First 8 weeks from 3 June 2023 to 28 July 2023Last 8 weeks flexibly from 29 July 2023 to 30 June 2024

For ease of calculation, you can also try this maternity leave calculator on MOM’s website!

How can my employee apply for maternity leave?

The employee can submit the declaration form (GPML1) to the employer with all necessary supporting documents and apply for Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) according to the employer’s leave application procedures.

Tip: Learn how you can simplify employee leave tracking using Payboy’s leave management system!

As an employer, how much reimbursement will I get from government-paid maternity leave?

Is the child a Singapore citizen? Birth Number of weeks of maternity leave Paid by employer1 Reimbursed by Government Unpaid leave
Yes First and second 16 weeks First 8 weeks Last 8 weeks -
Yes Third and subsequent 16 weeks - All 16 weeks -
No N/A 12 weeks First 8 weeks - Last 4 weeks2


  1. The employee must give the employer at least 1 week’s notice before going on maternity leave and inform them as soon as possible of her delivery. Otherwise, the employee will only be entitled to half the payment during maternity leave.
  2. The employer can still opt to pay for the last 4 weeks as part of employee’s benefits.

As an employer, how can I claim for government-paid maternity leave?

As an employer, you need to pay your employees the usual monthly salary during the leave period and claim reimbursement from the government under the Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) scheme by following the steps below:

  1. Obtain the declaration form (GPML1) and supporting documents from your employee and verify her eligibility for Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML). 
    1. The declaration form must be kept for 5 years from the last GPML date for audit purposes.
  2. Submit your claim for reimbursement online via the Government-Paid Leave (GPL) Portal after your employee has taken the government-paid portion of GPML. 
    1. Submissions should be made no later than 3 months after the last date of your employee’s GPML.
  3. Check your application status on the GPL Portal. A notification will be sent to you and your employee once your application is processed.

Are Singapore Permanent Residents (PR) eligible for maternity leave?

Regardless of their nationality, Permanent Resident (PR) employees are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if they are covered by the Employment Act and have served the employer for at least 3 months.

They also qualify for 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave if their child is a Singapore citizen and they are lawfully married to the child’s father.

Can foreigners take maternity leave in Singapore?

Yes, the same eligibility applies to foreigners. Foreigners are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave if they are covered by the Employment Act and have served the employer for at least 3 months.

They also qualify for 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave if their child is a Singapore citizen and they are lawfully married to the child’s father.

Do contract, temporary, or part-time workers get maternity leave?

Yes! Contract, temporary, or part-time workers are also eligible for Government-Paid Maternity Leave if they have worked at your company for at least 3 months.

They will get paid the gross rate for every day that their contract would have required them to work. 

For a monthly-rated employee, the gross rate of pay for 1 day is calculated as follows:

(12 x monthly gross rate of pay) / (52 x average number of days an employee is required to work in a week)


Joanne is a part-time employee with a monthly gross salary of $2,000 and works 3 days per week. Her gross rate of pay is:

(12 x $2,000) / (52 x 3) = $153.85

If she qualifies for 16 weeks of Government-Paid Maternity Leave, her pro-rated maternity leave days will be:

16 x 3 = 48 days

For 48 days, her total gross rate of pay is:

48 days x $153.85 = $7,384.80

Is termination of employment allowed during maternity leave?

No, it is an offence for an employer to dismiss an employee without sufficient reason and on lawful grounds while she is on maternity leave, according to Employment Act Section 81.

Offenders shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both, as per Employment Act Section 87.

Can an employee resign after returning from maternity leave?

Yes, if the employee decides not to continue working after her maternity leave, she can resign and serve the appropriate notice, or she can compensate her employer with salary in-lieu of notice. Her resignation will not affect her entitlement to maternity leave.

Can an employee resign during maternity leave?

Yes, the employee has the option to resign while on maternity leave. However, it's crucial to note that she cannot use her maternity leave to shorten her notice period.

The notice period should be served in full, separate from the maternity leave. It's essential for both employer and employee to be aware of the distinct nature of maternity leave and the notice period.

Can an employee take maternity leave during her notice period?

Yes, your employee can use her maternity leave during the notice period. The period when she is on maternity leave will count towards her service during the notice period. All maternity leave not used before her last day of employment will be forfeited.

How do you support your employee who is returning to work after maternity leave?

Supporting employees who are returning to work from maternity leave is vital to ensuring a smooth transition. Here are some key steps for employers to consider:

  1. Extended maternity leave

Extended maternity leave provides new mothers with the option to stay on leave for a longer period. It's important for employers to be aware of this possibility and to offer flexibility in this regard. Some employees may choose to extend their leave to care for their newborns and manage their postpartum recovery.

  1. Shared parental leave policy

Familiarise yourself with the shared parental leave policy and ensure that employees are aware of their entitlements. Encourage fathers to take advantage of shared parental leave to bond with their child and support their spouse.

  1. Additional family care leave

Family care leave plays a crucial role in supporting employees during important life events and ensuring a compassionate work environment. This is why we’ve put together a comprehensive Family Care Leave Guide that lists the various types of family care leave that MOM mandates, such as Extended Childcare Leave and Adoption Leave for eligible working mothers, as well as some additional leave benefits that you can consider providing to your employees. These benefits go beyond the mandatory childcare leave entitlements, further demonstrating your commitment to your employees' well-being.

  1. Flexible working arrangements

Embracing flexible working arrangements is a key element of supporting employees returning from maternity leave. Consider options such as part-time work, job sharing, or remote work, where applicable. These arrangements can help new mothers gradually transition back into the workforce while still fulfilling their family responsibilities.

In conclusion, providing maternity leave is not just a legal requirement; it's a crucial aspect of building a compassionate and equal workplace. By doing so, employers can enhance employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and contribute to a healthier, more productive workforce while ensuring a supportive work environment. Ultimately, maternity leave is an investment in the welfare of employees and the overall success of an organisation.

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 many 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 you are 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, including maternity leave!

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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