Dear Fellow HR Practitioners,

We understand from MOM’s website that by default, maternity leave starts 4 weeks before estimated delivery date unless mutually agreed between employee and employer. An employee verbally informs that she intends to start her maternity leave on the delivery date. Employer did not express disagreement to the request. Two weeks before estimated delivery date, the employee had severe contraction and went to her gynaecologist, who advised her that she can be due for delivery anytime and ask her to go home and rest. Instead of starting her maternity leave, the employee was given medical leave to rest at home till delivery date. Is such practice allowed? Can the employer request the employee to start her maternity leave since gynaecologist has already said that she can be due anytime?

Thank you.


1.  I think it will be a challenge for the employer to suggest activating the maternity leave, especially since the employee still has medical leave entitlement from the company. Although the resting is done at home, the leave could be issued as hospitalisation leave, as the entitlement is usually more than normal medical leave.

It is also very common nowadays for employees to obtain a medical certificate ( mc) during routine visit to the gynae. For this scenario I have shared my opinion with the employees that if they are actually feeling fine, they should not request for medical cert. I also encourage them to visit the gynae first thing in the morning or book the last afternoon slot. This way I could grant them 2 hours time off, and they could save their annual leave.

2.  Since she has been issued with mc, we cannot ask her to start her maternity leave now. Anyway, she will be due anytime. So when she gives birth, I think her given mc will not be valid. I assume her maternity leave will automatically consider start on date of delivery. Any comments?

I usually ask employee to submit in advance leave form for her intended maternity leave so we know how long she will be away from the final start date.


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