Parental Leave

What is Parental Leave?

Parental leave is a work leave granted to parents to care for their children or recently born or adopted child. This leave can be filed by any parent, irrespective of gender, allowing both mothers and fathers the opportunity to bond with their child and attend to their family responsibilities. 

Parental leave policies vary significantly by country and organisation, encompassing both unpaid and paid time off

Types of Parental Leave

Parental leave can be paid or unpaid:

Paid Parental Leave: During this period, the employee receives a portion or full amount of their salary. The specifics depend on national legislation, company policies, and the terms of employment contracts.

Unpaid Parental Leave: Employees are granted time off without any salary. This type of leave allows parents to care for their child without the pressure of work commitments, though it might pose financial challenges due to the lack of income.

Parental Leave vs Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is widely available, but it’s different from parental leave. 

Maternity leave specifically refers to the leave granted to mothers around the time of childbirth. It primarily focuses on the physical recovery of the mother post-delivery and the initial bonding period with the newborn. 

Parental leave, on the other hand, is more inclusive, providing both parents the opportunity to take time off work. This leave supports the involvement of both parents in childcare, beyond just the initial recovery period associated with childbirth.

Parental Leave in Different Countries

As mentioned above, facilitating parental leave differs from country to country. Let’s discuss the law requirements and system of parental leave in the UK, Singapore, Philippines, and Australia. 


In the UK, parental leave is required by law, however, it is unpaid.  Below are more information about it:

  • Each parent is entitled to 18 weeks of leave per child, including adopted children, up to their 18th birthday.
  • The annual limit for parental leave per child is 4 weeks, unless the employer agrees to more.
  • Parental leave must be taken in whole weeks (e.g., 1 week or 2 weeks) unless the employer consents to shorter periods or if the child has a disability.
  • Leave can be split up and does not need to be taken all at once.
  • A 'week' of leave corresponds to the typical workweek duration for the employee.
  • Parental leave entitlements apply to each child individually, not to the parent's job.

Note, however, that an employee must be eligible to receive these benefits. For more details, you may visit this page


In Singapore, the terms used are quite different because they have various parent-related leaves. 

“Parental Leave” refers to “Shared Parental Leave,” which aims to support fathers in sharing parental responsibilities with the mother. Filing for the SPL means the father shares some of the Government-Paid Maternity Leave or Adoption Leave for Mothers

The closest equivalent to parental leave as we have defined it is the “Government Paid Childcare Leave (GPCL) and Extended Childcare Leave (ECL).” The aim of these leaves is to help eligible working parents care for and spend quality time with their children.

Here more details about it:

  • Eligible parents with a Singaporean child below the age of 7 are entitled to 6 days of GPCL within a relevant period, which is usually a year. 
  • The employer will cover the cost of the first three days of GPCL at your gross rate of pay.
  • The government will cover the cost of the fourth to sixth day of GPCL, up to $500 per day, with a maximum of $1,500 per calendar year.
  • Eligible working parents with Singapore citizen children aged 7 to 12 (inclusive) are entitled to 2 days of ECL per relevant period, which is usually a year.
  • The government will cover the cost of these 2 days, up to $500 per day, with a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.

For more information, you may visit Singapore’s Government Paid Leave website


The Philippines does not have a law on parental leave. What’s strictly enforced is the provision of maternity leave and paternity leave. 

  • Eligible female employees are entitled to 105 days of maternity leave for a normal delivery and 120 days for a caesarean section (C-section) delivery. This leave can be extended by an additional 30 days without pay upon the employee's request and with the employer's approval.
  • Eligible male employees are entitled to 7 days of paternity leave, which can be taken consecutively or separately within the first 4 weeks after childbirth, subject to agreement between the employer and the employee.

For more information on maternity and paternity leave, you may visit this page

In the Philippines, it’s a common practice to file for their annual leave to attend to their parental duties and responsibilities. 


In Australia, parental leave works similarly to maternity and paternity leave. Here are more details about it:

  • Parental leave allows parents to care for their new child following birth or adoption.
  • Employees are entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave initially; they may request an additional 12 months, totaling up to 24 months of unpaid parental leave.
  • Leave options include: a single continuous period, flexible leave for up to 100 days, a combination of continuous and flexible days
  • Different rules apply based on the type and manner of leave taken.

Generally, parental leave in Australia is unpaid. However, the government may provide Parental Leave Pay at the national minimum wage to the primary carer of a newborn or newly adopted child. Learn more about it here


Understanding the various systems and legal requirements of parental leave allows employers to better accommodate the needs of their employees, fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace environment.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.