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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Compassionate Leave for the Demise of Immediate Family Members

Notice Paper No. 374 of 2013 For The Sitting On 21 Oct 2013
Question No. 1505 For Written Answer

MP: Er Dr Lee Bee Wah

To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider making it compulsory for companies to grant compassionate leave to all employees for the demise of immediate family members including grandparents and great-grandparents.


  1. The Employment Act seeks to ensure reasonable employment standards while balancing businesses' need to stay competitive. We are always mindful of the need for protection, welfare and how it can impact worker’s employability if overdone.
  2. We have recently introduced a series of statutory family-related leave schemes on 1 May 2013, as part of the Marriage and Parenthood package. These are positive steps for employees and we should allow time for businesses to adjust and adapt. At this stage, we do not have plans to legislate any new family leave schemes.
  3. Nevertheless, as part of the tripartite dialogue, the tripartite partners have come out with the Guidelines on Best Work-Life Practices to encourage companies to grant non-statutory leave to employees, such as compassionate leave, where business operations permit. We are heartened to note that even without legislation, 9 in 10 companies (89%) already provide compassionate leave, based on MOM’s survey in 2012.