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Singapore – No More Double-Dipping: Changes To CDCA.

11 April, 2014

 

The Child Development Co-Savings Act (“CDCA”) has been amended such that it now reflects the no double-dipping rule: an employee’s entitlement to childcare and extended childcare leave derives from either the CDCA or the Employment Act (“EA”) but not both, and employees with children in different age categories can only claim the maximum entitlement based on the youngest Singapore citizen child.

 

On 12 November 2013 the Employment, Parental Leave and Other Measures Act 2013 (“EPLOMA”) was passed. Amongst its provisions is an amendment in relation to childcare leave and extended leave entitlements provided to employees under the CDCCA and the EA. The mischief it seeks to rectify is in relation to employees with children of different nationalities and employees with children in different age groups. The more generous leave provisions under the CDCA only apply if the child is a Singapore citizen. If the child is a non-Singapore citizen, entitlement to leave can only arise from the EA. In theory, employees with a Singapore citizen child and a non-Singapore citizen child could double-dip and claim extended childcare leave under the CDCA and childcare leave under the EA.

 

In addition, the CDCA provides for childcare leave and extended childcare leave whereas the EA only makes provision for childcare leave. Where an employee has children in different age categories they could, in theory, have claimed for both childcare leave and extended child care leave as separate entitlements.

 

The amendments introduced by the EPLOMA close these loopholes once and for all, confirming that all leave entitlements run concurrently.

 

The CDDCA Position

 

An employee is entitled to up to six days of childcare leave per year if they are covered by the CDCA. The CDCA applies where:

 

  • the child is below seven years of age;
  • the child is a Singaporre citizen; and
  • the employee has served his or her employer for a continuous duration of at least three months.

 

Unlike the EA, the CDCA covers all employees including those who are in managerial and executive roles. Irrespective of the number of children an employee has, the total childcare leave entitlement is capped at six days per year until the year the child turns seven years old (ie a maximum of 42 days per qualifying child). In addition, an employee with a child between the ages of seven and thirteen is entitled to extended childcare leave of two days per year (ie a maximum of 12 days).

 

If an employee has children in both categories and therefore entitled to childcare leave of six days and extended childcare leave of two days, these entitlements run concurrently. The maximum number of days leave is therefore six days, irrespective of the number of children or their ages.

 

The EA Position

 

An employee who does not meet the criteria under the CDCA may still be entitled to childcare leave if the following conditions are met:

 

  • the employee is covered by the Employment Act;
  • the child is below seven years of age; and
  • the employee has served his or her employer for a continuous duration of at least three months.

Irrespective of the number of children an employee has, the total childcare leave entitlement is capped at two days per year until the year the child turns seven years old (ie a maximum of 14 days). There is no extended childcare leave under the EA.

 

No More Double-Dipping

 

Although the CDCA has always been clear that entitlement to childcare leave only derives from either the CDCA or the EA, and not both, a technical loophole existed whereby an employee with an older Singapore citizen child above the age of seven and a younger non-Singapore citizen child below the age of seven could claim entitlement under the CDCA for extended childcare leave and entitlement under the EA for childcare leave. The amendment makes clear that leave entitlements run concurrently, whether they arise from the CDCA or the EA. The maximum number of days leave is therefore six days, irrespective of the nationalities of the children.

 

Certainty

 

The EPLOMA amends the language of the CDCA to ensure that employees cannot double-dip; employers can now be confident that the maximum childcare/extended childcare leave an employee is entitled to six days in any given year and that entitlements run concurrently, regardless of the number of children an employee has, or their nationalities.

 

herbert smith Freehills

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Fatim Jumabhoy, Herbert Smith Freehills

[email protected]

 

Chris Cheung, Herbert Smith Freehills

[email protected]

 

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