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Following reports that the currently optional second week of paternity leave will be made compulsory for all employers in Singapore, the government is now offering reimbursement for those bosses whose staff took the extra week of paternity leave last year.
The nation’s Child Development Co-savings Act (CDCA) was amended in Parliament yesterday to support active fatherhood, and children of single unwed parents.
“To encourage fathers to spend more time with their children from birth, employers and self-employed individuals, who voluntarily exercise the option to grant to employees/take a second week of paternity leave respectively, will be reimbursed by the government for this additional week of leave granted/taken,” a press release by The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) stated.
The amendments allow employers and self-employed to seek reimbursement from 1 July 2016.
MSF added the second week of paternity leave may be taken, effective 24 August 2015, and applies to:
i. Children born on or after 1 Jan 2015;
ii. Children born before 1 Jan 2015, but whose estimated delivery date was on or after 1 Jan 2015;
iii. Adopted children where the application to adopt is on or after 1 Jan 2015 (for child who is a Singapore citizen); or,
iv. Adopted children whose dependant’s pass is issued on or after 1 Jan 2015 (for a child who is not a Singapore citizen).
The CDCA will be further amended in late 2016, to mandate the second week of paternity leave that Senior Minister of State, Josephine Teo, had announced earlier this year.
MSF further stated that yesterday’s amendments will also allow children of unwed parents to profit from the Child Development Account (CDA) scheme – a savings account wherein the government matches the deposits parents make by up to $6,000 to pay for childcare and healthcare costs.
These children were previously not eligible for CDA.
“To enhance child outcomes, MSF announced during its Committee of Supply 2016 that children of unwed parents would be eligible for Child Development Account benefits, including the $3,000 CDA First Step grant,” MSF stated.
“With this amendment, the government may provide financial assistance for the development of eligible children of unwed parents who are born from September 2016. This timeline takes into account the system changes needed to extend CDA benefits to children of unwed parents. ”
Human Resources spoke to Taru Jain, CEO of FutureMarketer, in order to get his views on the amendments made to the CDCA and the impact they will have on local firms.
While applauding the move, Jain feels the impact of such support initiatives depends on how “supportive an organisation’s culture is”.
“Many times, employees hesitate to avail such opportunities or the employer doesn’t proactively communicate these benefits.
“At FutureMarketer, we have very flexible voluntary policies to facilitate the needs of working parents. For example, we offer a work from home option, as well as flexible working hours. This allows parents to come into the office later so that they can drop their children off at school,” he added.