Wednesday, 21 March 2018

The benefits of taking 16 weeks of maternity leave consecutively

Mothers of Singaporean children, who are legally married, and have worked continuously for a company for at least three months, will get 16 weeks of maternity leave in Singapore. There are some flexibility in this leave, which you can find out more here. You need to take the first 8 weeks consecutively, and the subsequent 8 weeks can be taken over the next 12 months. However, some companies may have different requirements over such flexibility.

I know of many who take the first 12 weeks consecutively, and then take the other four weeks (i.e. 20 days for a five- day work week job) as and when they need.

This is my second time taking maternity leave, and like previously, my choice is to take the 16 weeks consecutively, and I would advocate this if things are generally well, based on my experience.

There are many advantages, namely:

(1) You can spend 16 weeks of time with your newborn, focusing attention just on the baby -- (almost) no work.

Most company generally make arrangements for the long stretch of maternity leave. Or at least, that's the case for the company I am working for. During this period, there are very few (almost no) phone calls, and the requirement for you to check and reply email is very low (close to nil for my company). The work obligation required during this continuous stretch of maternity leave is very different from that required from you when you are on a few days leave. Why not just spend this 16 weeks in one go, and focus on your new born, (almost) free from work?

True, after your maternity leave, you may need to take time off for your child's vaccination, some clinic trips, and so on which demand leave. But, don't forget, you also have 6 days of childcare leave (for mothers of Singaporean children) and annual leave for that same year in addition to maternity leave.

(2) You can literally save on a month's worth of childcare. 

If you are getting external help for childcare, you will need to pay for the entire month, even if you skip childcare for a few days. By going back to work later, your kid can also start childcare later.

(3) Less disruption to your employer

The first time I took 16 weeks of maternity leave was because that's the preferred choice of my employer. For them, it is easier for them to plan their resource, and work if we take 16 weeks consecutively. I guess, while it's different for different employers, a continuous leave of 16 weeks brings more certainty to them.

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