Monday, 16 May 2016

Additional benefits for parents of new-born babies brings joy

The announcement by the Singapore government to provide additional leave benefits for parents shows the nation’s support for a family and work life balance and is definitely an effort to be applauded.

Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo said that South Korean and Danish employers who are supportive of pro-family policies mentioned that if aspiration of employees to achieve better work-life balance is met, then businesses stand a better chance of obtaining more talented employees and it is beneficial for businesses.

Fathers of babies born from 1 January 2017 will get two weeks of paternity leave which is an addition to the current one week of paternity leave. In addition, working mothers will be able to share up to four weeks of their paid maternity leave with their husbands from July 2017. Therefore, with the changes, fathers can receive a total of eight weeks off work including one week of childcare leave and another week of unpaid infant care that they are already eligible for.

This is definitely wonderful news for fathers as they will be able to spend more time with their family and create a closer bond with their babies. Moreover, this will be able to create a more positive psychological impact for the mothers.

In relation to unwed working mothers, currently they are only offered eight weeks of maternity leave and their children do not qualify for the Child Development Account under the Child Development and Co-Savings Act. The government announced that after the legislation has been amended, unwed working mothers will receive the full government-paid 16 weeks of maternity leave from early 2017 that other married working mothers garner and children of unwed parents will qualify for the Child Development Account including the S$3,000 CDA First Step grant. The extension of these benefits to unwed parents does not undermine parenthood within marriage, which is the prevalent social norm and one which local society values.

The good news of additional leave benefits also extends to adoptive mothers who will be eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave to look after their adopted child, up from the current four weeks if the adopted child is a Singaporean below 12 months of age and is adopted on or after 1 July 2017.

These benefits for parents will be able to create a healthy and more positive effect on the employees. Organisations are encouraged to support the move by the government by communicating the available benefits to the employees.

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