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Leave Entitlements in Singapore: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Among the more essential employee benefits are leave entitlements, which give employees paid time off for vacation, illness, childbirth, or to care for children.  Each country, including Singapore, has its own statutory leave entitlements, which are mandatory minimums that need to be offered. 

Overseas employers will want to fully understand what leave entitlements are required in Singapore, and when they can be replaced with additional employee payments.

What are the leave entitlements for employees in Singapore?

When you hire employees in Singapore there are detailed leave entitlements established by the Ministry of Manpower.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is available for employees that have worked for an employer for at least 3 months.  The minimum leave is seven days in the first year of service, with an additional day for each successive year of service.  Service of less than a year receives a pro-rated amount based on the number of months worked.

Childcare Leave

Both mothers and fathers can receive 6 days of childcare leave each year, with the first three days paid by the employer and the remaining by the government.

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Maternity and Paternity Leave

Government/employer paid maternity leave is available for new mothers who are Singapore residents.  Leave is 16 weeks, with the first eight weeks paid by the employer, and the second eight weeks reimbursed by the government to the employer. 

Fathers receive government-paid paternity leave of two weeks.  Fathers can also share up to a maximum of four weeks of the mother’s maternity leave, which would be subtracted from the 16 weeks.  Both maternity and paternity leave require three months of employment to be eligible.

Adoption Leave

There is also leave for adoption to give time to mothers to care for the child.  The amount of leave is 12 weeks.  The first four weeks are paid by the employer, and the last eight weeks are reimbursed by the government.  There is a cap of $10,000 for every four week segment.

Sick Leave

When an employee is ill, they can receive up to 14 days of paid leave and 60 days for hospitalization.  The employer has to be notified within 48 hours, and given a certificate from a doctor.

Unpaid Infant Care Leave

Each parent is entitled to six days per year to care for an infant below two years of age.

Client Case: Payout of unused annual leave during employment

One of our clients with employees in Singapore asked if they could pay out accrued annual leave, and what the tax implications were.  We let them know that in Singapore, accrued leave can be paid in lieu, and it would be included as income for tax calculation.  Upon termination, accrued leave is automatically paid out.

Do you need more information about Singapore?

Employers new to Singapore might have other questions such as:

When annual leave is paid out, is it subject to social contributions as well as tax?

Can mothers take additional unpaid maternity leave, and are they protected from termination?

If employers offer additional leave entitlements as a policy, are employees required to take them?

These are the types of questions our clients bring us as they navigate foreign employment laws surrounding entitlements, taxation, and payroll.  We make international employment simple.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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