Caregiving Leave

What is caregiving leave and what you can do to help your employee care for their families.

What Is Caregiving Leave

Caregiving leave refers to unpaid leave for unexpected care needs (e.g. when an immediate family member has a medical emergency). It is a progressive employment practice that helps employees to juggle work with caregiving responsibilities.

While employees are encouraged to use their annual leave first, you can provide additional unpaid leave to support them during such stressful periods.

Why It Matters

Helping employees to care of their families ensures that you get to attract and retain key talent. This is because employees are motivated to work for organisations with progressive practices.

What You Should Do to Be Progressive

Here are some progressive employment practices you can consider. These are based on the Tripartite Standard on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, which you can adopt to distinguish your organisation.

Create Caregiving Leave Policies and Procedures

Your policies and procedures should:

  • Offer up to 2 weeks of unpaid leave per year for the caring of immediate family members who are hospitalised, during or after hospitalisation.
  • Offer up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave per year if their child is below the age of 2 and is born (a) before 37 weeks of pregnancy, or (b) with congenital conditions , or (c) as part of multiple births; or (d) has any medical conditions, subject to discussion with you.
  • Allow employees to request for more leave if they require.
  • Include the documentation of leave requests and responses.
  • Notify employees on the outcomes of leave requests in a timely manner. If a request cannot be granted, you should engage employees on the reasons and where possible, discuss suitable alternatives.

Communicate Caregiving Leave Policies and Procedures

When communicating your policies, you should mention:

  • Types of unpaid leave offered
  • The process to request for unpaid leave
  • Expectations on the responsible use of leave

We encourage you to go beyond the practices presented here. You can browse our 
resource collection to get tips, tools and ideas and learn from case studies and interviews with progressive employers.