Changes to shared parental leave and adoption leave entitlements as well an increase in the re-employment age ceiling will take effect from 1 July 2017. This is a good juncture for companies to review their employment policies to ensure they will be compliant.
Increase in shared parental leave
At present, if the child’s mother qualifies for 16 weeks’ paid maternity leave under the Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCSA), the father may also take one of those weeks by agreement with the mother as “shared parental leave”. This right is subject to the following conditions:
- the child is a Singapore citizen;
- the child’s parents are lawfully married; and
- the child’s mother agrees to “share” the leave.
From 1 July 2017, eligible couples will be able to access four weeks of shared parental leave, meaning that eligible fathers will be able to request an additional four weeks' paid leave out of the mother's maternity leave entitlement in addition to their paternity leave entitlement. Adoptive fathers may also enjoy shared parental leave from their spouse’s adoption leave.
Shared parental leave must be used within 12 months from birth of the child and can be used in a continuous block or flexibly if agreed with the employer.
Greater adoption leave entitlements
Adoptive mothers are currently entitled to four weeks' paid adoption leave under the CDCSA. This will increase to 12 weeks from 1 July 2017.
The first four weeks of adoption leave will be paid for by the employer (for the irst and second child), and the last eight weeks will be funded by the Government. For the third and any subsequent children, the full 12 weeks of leave will be funded by the Government.
Adoptive fathers are entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave under the CDCSA, subject to certain service, citizenship, age and timing criteria.
Changes to re-employment age ceiling
Effective 1 July 2017, the re-employment age ceiling will be raised by two years from the current age ceiling of 65. Accordingly, for employees between the statutory retirement age (currently 62) and 67, who are medically fit and who have had a satisfactory work performance, the employer is required to find a suitable vacancy in which to “re-employ” the employee. Otherwise, the employer may be required to pay an Employment Assistance Payment to the employee.
Employers should ensure that:
i. the new adoption and shared parental leave entitlements are made available to eligible employees from 1 July 2017;
ii. they offer re-employment to eligible employees up to the age of 67; and
iii. policies are updated to reflect the new entitlements and obligations.