Parliamentary reply by Minister Josephine Teo on incentivising fathers to take paternity leave
THIRTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
WEDNESDAY, 4 MARCH 2020
Mr Louis Ng:
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will consider incentivising fathers to take their Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) by providing additional leave to couples which can be used by either the mother or father where the father has consumed his full entitlement of GPPL.
Mrs Josephine Teo (for the Prime Minister):
Fathers play an important role in their children’s care and development. As more fathers play an active role in raising their children, the take-up rate of paternity leave has risen from 25% when it was first introduced in 2013, to 53% for recent cohorts.
As mentioned in a recent response to Mr Louis Ng’s Parliamentary Question on barriers to fathers taking paternity leave, our research showed that fathers’ utilisation of paternity leave is dependent on workplace support, especially from supervisors and colleagues. As such, giving fathers additional leave may not help to raise the take-up rate of paternity leave. Instead, it is especially important for us to work together to shape more supportive workplace norms and culture for parents.
When considering further enhancements to leave schemes, we also have to balance support for parents with employers’ concerns over manpower needs at the workplace. This is especially so in times of business uncertainty.
Beyond leave provisions, the Government encourages employers to adopt the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) and Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs. The Ministry of Manpower’s Work-Life Grant also provides funding support for employers to implement FWAs. These practices are helpful to parents in caring for their children and make for a more family-friendly workplace. We will continue to work with tripartite partners to encourage companies to better support parents in managing their work and family responsibilities.