Parliamentary reply by Minister Josephine Teo on rationale for not providing childcare leave to parents on a per child basis
THIRTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2019
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang:
To ask the Prime Minister what is the rationale for not providing childcare leave to parents on a per child basis.
Mrs Josephine Teo (for the Prime Minister):
The Government is strongly committed to support Singaporeans in their parenthood journeys. To better support working parents, child care leave provisions have been enhanced progressively over the years. Today, parents of Singaporean children are eligible for six days of child care leave per year when their children are aged below seven years old. This was raised from two days in 2008. Since 2013, parents with children aged seven to 12 are eligible for two days of extended child care leave per year.
Child care leave is given on a per parent basis today to balance between supporting parents in their caregiving responsibilities, and meeting employers’ manpower needs. We need to take a practical approach on this matter. Employers are concerned that increasing these leave provisions could adversely impact their manpower costs and operations. Giving more child care leave on a per child basis can also inadvertently affect the employment prospects of parents with more children.
Beyond leave provisions, the Government encourages and provides support to companies to implement Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), to develop a more family-friendly work culture. Employers may access the enhanced Work-Life Grant which has been raised to $100 million recently, and make use of the new job-sharing implementation guide to offer FWAs to employees. We have also launched two Tripartite Standards in 2018 to encourage companies to provide additional support for employees’ personal or caregiving responsibilities, namely the Tripartite Standard on FWAs, and on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs.
We regularly review leave policies and other workplace arrangements to better support parents to manage their work and family commitments. The Citizens’ Panel on Work-Life Harmony was just formed for Singaporeans to partner the Government to develop new ways for society and workplaces to better support families in Singapore.