Parliamentary Reply by Minister Indranee Rajah on the Doubling of Paternity Leave
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
THURSDAY, 10 MARCH 2022
Mr Louis Ng:
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will (i) study the doubling of paternity leave by several multinational companies in Singapore to examine the effect on employability, productivity, and family relationships of the employees in these companies and (ii) consider doubling the paternity leave for all fathers.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
International research shows that paid parental leave, which includes paternity leave, benefits employers in terms of talent attraction, employee retention and productivity. Paternity leave is also associated with stronger relationships between fathers and their children, as well as with their wives.
The Government has progressively enhanced parental leave schemes to better support parents and particularly fathers in playing a bigger role in raising their children. In 2017, we made the second week of Paternity Leave mandatory, and increased Shared Parental Leave from one to four weeks. Fathers can now take up to eight weeks of leave1 in total in their child’s first year, to bond with their newborns and care for their wives.
However, supporting the caregiving needs of parents must be balanced with the manpower and operational needs of employers, as I had explained in my Committee of Supply speech last week. A more sustainable approach is for companies to develop a family-friendly culture. We are heartened that some companies in Singapore are leaning forward to offer additional paternity leave, on top of legislated provisions. There are also other ways to provide more flexible leave options for staff; many companies have signed up to the Tripartite Standards on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs2.
We welcome these progressive companies to share their experiences and best practices with other companies. As the needs of companies vary, employers, in partnership with their employees, are best placed to assess and implement the family-friendly arrangements suited to the company’s context. We will continue to work with tripartite partners to review the scope for more parental leave provisions, and build a Singapore that is Made For Families.
1 This comprises two weeks of paid paternity leave, four weeks of paid shared parental leave, about one week (six days) of paid childcare leave, and about one week (six days) of unpaid infant care leave.
2 Employees which adopt this set of Tripartite Standards will allow parents to take up to four weeks of unpaid leave per year if their child is (a) aged below two, and (b) born preterm, part of multiple births, or has medical conditions.