Parliamentary reply by Minister Indranee Rajah on extending childcare leave due to home-based learning
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2021
Mr Louis Ng:
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Ministry will consider extending the current childcare leave entitlement to those with children between 7 and 12 years old (inclusive) in light of the increased home-based learning.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
We fully empathise with the challenges faced by working parents when schools shift to home-based learning (HBL) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working parents with children aged seven to 12 years old can each take two days of paid Extended Childcare Leave, in addition to their annual leave entitlements.
Primary schools and student care centres also remain open during HBL days, to care for students whose parents are unable to secure alternative care arrangements.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has also developed a set of practical tips as part of the “Parent Kits” accessible on MOE’s website, to help parents in supporting their child’s HBL.
It would be difficult to extend childcare leave to cover all HBL days. Currently, HBL for primary schools is implemented to curb the transmission of COVID-19. Given that the number of HBL days required depends largely on the national COVID-19 situation, extending childcare leave to cover all these days would not be feasible. As explained in my earlier replies to Mr Gan Thiam Poh and Mr Louis Ng’s previous parliamentary questions on childcare leave, we need to take a practical approach to calibrating leave provisions, to avoid affecting parents’ employability. At the same time, extending childcare leave by anything less would not address the underlying concern, which is the parents’ ability to be present at home to care for the child during HBL.
A more sustainable solution would be to increase the adoption of flexible work arrangements to enable employees to better manage both work and family commitments. The Government will continue to work with stakeholders to shape and promote family-friendly workplace and social norms.