Parliamentary reply by Minister Josephine Teo on consumption period of paternity leave
THIRTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
THURSDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2020
Mr Louis Ng:
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will consider increasing the period during which Government-Paid Paternity Leave may be consumed from within 12 months of childbirth to within 24 months of childbirth.
Mrs Josephine Teo (for the Prime Minister):
Mr Speaker, fathers play an important role in their children’s care and development. For this reason, we have progressively increased parental leave provisions to support fathers in caring for their children. Today, fathers can tap on up to eight weeks of leave in the year after their child’s birth, including two weeks of paternity leave and four weeks of shared parental leave.
Similar to maternity leave, paternity leave should be consumed within 12 months of childbirth, as it is meant to support working fathers in caring for their infants when they are younger and in need of more care. For this reason, we have no plans to extend it to 24 months of childbirth. This is also in line with international practice where parents are typically required to consume maternity and paternity leave within a few months or up to a year after their child’s birth. This is the practice in many countries such as Denmark, United Kingdom, and South Korea.
After the child turns one, parents can continue to tap on other forms of leave support. This includes six days of unpaid infant care leave per parent per year until the child turns two, on top of six days of paid child care leave, which each parent can take annually until the child turns seven. Together with tripartite partners, we also encourage employers to provide up to 4 weeks of unpaid leave per year if their employees have children below two years old who need more care (for example, due to medical conditions). This is a provision under the Tripartite Standard on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, which I must thank member Mr Ng for helping to bring about.
Beyond leave provisions, the Government will continue to work with employers to better support parents in managing their work and family responsibilities. This includes promoting the adoption of flexible work arrangements and encouraging more family-friendly practices at workplaces.