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woman feeding baby at work, flexible workplaces in Singapore

Government urges local bosses to provide support for young parents

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Following changes to the nation’s paternity leave scheme, the Singapore government is now pushing for employers to further enhance workplace and community support for young parents.

That was among the three ways Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister’s Office) Josephine Teo listed on a Facebook post explaining how the government aims to help Singaporeans fulfill their aspirations for family life.

“In my discussions with parents, many have shared that they have been encouraged to have more children because of supportive elders or employers,” she stated on the post titled “Priorities for 2016”.

“A strong culture of support is crucial in helping them pursue both their career and parenthood aspirations. They hope there will be more good jobs with flexi-time/part time options, and that employers will be understanding when they need time off to care for their child.”

Teo, who helps oversee the National Population and Talent Division stated this yesterday after announcing over the weekend that enhancements will be made to the Marriage and Parenthood Package.

Teo’s other two priorities included giving new parent a more affordable yet high-quality childcare options, and helping fathers play a more active role in raising children.

ALSO READ: Facebook extends its 4 months’ paid paternity leave to global staff

“Dads are getting more support too – besides paternity leave, shared parental leave and childcare leave provided by law, we have introduced an additional week of paternity leave; this is voluntary and I hope more employers can come on board as the Civil Service has,” Teo wrote.

Speaking to Human Resources, Tan Ong Jin, regional HR business partner at AXA Insurance reminded companies, however, to keep the end goal of implementing such flexible working policies in mind.

“I think the real question to be asked is ‘what are we trying to achieve’ with flexible work programmes. Customisation and tailoring to individual needs is what is clearly evident in both customer and employee behaviour. As such, trying to implement a generic policy for a workforce which is increasingly fragmented will be hard to do, and somewhat ineffective,” he said.

He added that while governments have an important part to play in assuring the basic standards that everyone should be able to receive, the onus still remains on bosses to then customise these policies to suit their number of employees, size of business etc. if they wish to boost engagement rates.

“There can always be more leave, more benefits, more subsidies.. but smaller enterprises would certainly feel the pressure. It is no easy task to determine policy. Maybe beyond the safety net we should let the market decide.”

Image: Shutterstock



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