Oral Answer by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Statutory Paid Caregiver Leave
Notice Paper No. 10 Of 2015 For The Sitting On 20 January 2015 Question No. 427 For Oral Answer
MP: Mr David Ong Kim Huat
To ask the Minister for Manpower with more working Singaporeans requiring to perform the role of secondary caregivers to their ailing parents, siblings or children who are not mobile, whether the Ministry will consider statutory paid caregiver leave to ease our workers’ burden of caring for their family members.
- We recognise that, with our rapidly ageing population and decreasing family size, it is important to support working Singaporeans who need help in caring for their family members. At the same time, we are mindful that mandating more family care leave can have an impact on business operations.
- Our approach is to work with our tripartite partners to promote work-life practices, including providing family care leave beyond the statutory requirements and flexible work arrangements. A survey by the Ministry of Manpower1 found that the proportion of employers providing parental care or parental sick leave has almost tripled from 6% in 2008 to 17% in 2014. The proportion of employers providing at least one form of flexible work arrangement has also gone up from 28% in 2008 to 47% in 2014. The survey also found that almost seven in ten employers (69%) provided unplanned time-off for their employees to attend to personal matters in 2014. Employers are setting new industry norms, and they recognise that such practices help to attract and retain talent. For example, the civil service, as the largest employer in Singapore, provides 2 days of annual parent-care leave as a progressive employment practice.
- We also introduced a series of family-related leave schemes on 1 May 2013, as part of the Marriage and Parenthood Package. Businesses are still adjusting and adapting to some of these leave requirements. Let us monitor the impact of these changes before we consider legislating more family care leave.
- Nonetheless, I would like to encourage more employers to adopt work-life practices such as family care leave and flexible work arrangements, as a strategy to attract good workers in this tight labour market and motivate them. Work-life practices lead to win-win outcomes: Employees can better attend to their personal and family needs, while a more motivated workforce can benefit employers in terms of lower absenteeism, higher employee retention and better productivity.
Source: Conditions of Employment 2014. The survey covered private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees and the public sector comprising government ministries, organs of state and statutory boards. A total of 3,800 establishments employing 1,293,600 employees responded to the survey.