Parliamentary reply by Minister Josephine Teo on the default arrangement to consume Paternity Leave
THIRTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 6 APRIL 2020
Mr Louis Ng:
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Ministry will change the default arrangement of taking paternity leave so that fathers can split the two weeks of paternity leave into working days and take them in any combination within 12 months after the birth of the child without mutual agreement from the employer.
Mrs Josephine Teo (for the Prime Minister):
Fathers play an important role in their children’s care and development, as partners to their wives in raising the family. The default arrangement to consume two weeks of paternity leave within 16 weeks after delivery allows fathers to play their part in caring for their newborns, during this time when the family’s caregiving load is higher. Without this default arrangement, it may be difficult for fathers to be excused from work for an extended period. The consumption of parental leave in a continuous block soon after birth is also practised in other countries such as France, Spain and the United Kingdom.
For those who wish to take it flexibly, the two weeks of paternity leave can already be taken in days within a year from the child’s birth, if there is mutual agreement with their employers. This arrangement recognises that fathers have different work arrangements, and balances support for fathers to take their leave flexibly with employers’ manpower needs.
Beyond leave provisions, the Government encourages and provides support for employers to implement the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) and Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, to develop a more family-friendly work culture. Parents may tap on such arrangements to care for their children as well.
We will continue to work with tripartite partners to encourage companies to better support parents in managing their work and family responsibilities, including being understanding when fathers take paternity leave for their caregiving needs.