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Article | Global News Briefs

Singapore: Planned increase in paid paternity leave from 2024

By Audrey Tan | March 31, 2023

Expanded family leave entitlements for Singapore citizens starting in 2024 could add more pressure on employers to offer similar benefits for foreign workers.
Benessere integrato|Inclusion-and-Diversity|Health and Benefits|Ukupne nagrade

Employer Action Code: Monitor

A variety of family-focused measures have been announced as part of the 2023 budget, to promote work/life balance and encourage paternal involvement in child rearing. Arguably, the most notable of these measures is a doubling of the duration of government-subsidized paternity leave (from two weeks to four weeks) starting in 2024 for Singaporean citizens under the Children Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA). Under the CDCA, employer costs for maternity, paternity and the other family leaves are fully or partially subsidized by the government to support Singaporean families and encourage them to have children. Accordingly, employees who are citizens (or permanent residents) of Singapore receive paid leave under the CDCA for the birth, adoption and care of infants who are also citizens. Foreign employees are covered only by the family leave provisions of the Employment Act (EA). A separate measure in the budget will increase the covered earnings ceiling for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) for the first time since 2016.

Key details

Notable aspects of the 2023 budget include:

  • Government reimbursement of employer costs for paid paternity leave under the CDCA — up to 2,500 Singapore dollars ($S) a week — will increase from two to four weeks starting on January 1, 2024.
  • Employer provision of the additional two weeks of paternity leave will be voluntary initially but made mandatory at a later date, not yet known.
  • Unpaid infant care leave under the CDCA will increase from six to 12 days per year for children under age two.
  • Guidelines on the Tripartite Standard on Flexi-Work Arrangements will be implemented in 2024, requiring employers to consider staff requests for flexi-work arrangements.
  • The Ordinary Wage ceiling for CPF contributions will gradually increase from $S6,000 to $S8,000 per month by 2026, beginning September 1, 2023, when it will increase to $S6,300. The ceiling on annual Additional Wages is unchanged.

Employer implications

In principle, these changes should help with work/life balance issues; however, it’s worth noting that foreign employees are not entitled to paid paternity leave under the EA, and their childcare leave is only two days per year (fully paid by the employer). From a policy perspective, it’s understandable that the government is planning to increase such benefits for its citizenry as a way of encouraging families to have more children. Singapore has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, at 1.05 births per woman as of 2022 (Singapore Statistics data). For employers, further expansion of different entitlements for family benefits between local staff and foreign employees (who account for a third of the workforce) may increase pressure on employers to offer similar benefits for foreign workers. Currently, few employers (7%) offer more paternity leave than required (providing full pay for four weeks at the median), fewer still enhanced childcare leave.


Head of Health & Benefits, Singapore, WTW

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