SINGAPORE – In a move which will benefit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and self-employed women, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) has revised payment guidelines to allow monthly claims for Government Paid Maternity Leave (GPML).
Starting Thursday, employers can make monthly reimbursement claims from the Government after they have fulfilled their obligations for the first eight weeks of maternity leave for first and second-order births.
For the third and subsequent child, where the Government pays for the full 16 weeks leave, employers can submit monthly reimbursement claims for leave taken by the employee from the first month onwards. The same arrangements will be extended to self-employed women.
Currently, employers can only make two claims per employee within the first year from the child’s birth.
The first claim can be made any time after the first eights weeks of maternity leave. The second claim can only be made after the mother has consumed her full entitlement.
For mothers who choose to take the maternity leave flexibly, employers may have to wait up to the end of the 12-month period to make the second claim for the remaining GPML portion.
The MCYS said yesterday it made the revision following a suggestion to make the scheme more business-friendly. The move would also help women in taking maternity leave “more flexibly” within one year from their child’s birth, said Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Halimah Yacob.
Association of Small and Medium Enterprises President Chan Chong Beng reckons the move could aid companies with their cash flow.
“Most SMEs have to pay their employees before making claims,” he said. “Few SMEs will tell you, ‘I’m tight in my cash flow, I have a few hundred dollars’ … But I am very sure some have very limited cash flow.”
Self-employed mother Sher-li Torrey, who is now on maternity leave, also welcomed the news.
“As a business owner, we need to bear the cost of hiring temporary help to replace ourselves when we take maternity leave,” said Ms Torrey, the founder of Mums@work, a Web portal and social enterprise that helps women balance motherhood and work.
“As an employer, such a system allows accounting to be a little more efficient, as some businesses may have employees whose maternity leave is taken over two accounting periods.” Channel NewsAsia. Additional reporting by Neo Chai Chin.