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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on clarification for write-up on taking childcare leave on Ministry of Manpower website

NOTICE PAPER NO. 1852 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 7 OCTOBER 2019
QUESTION NO. 3139 FOR ORAL ANSWER


MP: Louis Ng Kok Kwang

To ask the Minister for Manpower with regard to the write-up on taking childcare leave on the Ministry's website, whether the Ministry will provide clearer definitions of (i) "matters that cannot be postponed" and to clarify whether child sickness falls under this category and (ii) "early notice" and to clarify the number of days or hours of notice that employees need to provide to their employers before taking childcare leave for matters that cannot be postponed.

Answer

  1. Eligible working parents are entitled to paid childcare leave, provided for under the Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA) and the Employment Act (EA). Childcare leave supports parents in caring for and spending time with their young children.
  2. While parents are entitled to childcare leave, every leave application is subject to the employers’ approval, which cannot be unreasonably withheld.
  3. Early notice of the intention to take childcare leave provides lead-time for employers to make alternative arrangements to cover the work duties of the employee where necessary. On the other hand, it would not be practical to expect employees to be able to give advance notice of matters which cannot be foreseen and cannot be postponed for example, their child falling ill suddenly.
  4. Some businesses operating on shifts may need a longer lead-time for employers to make alternative covering arrangements, while others may not need any lead-time at all. It would therefore not be helpful to prescribe, in terms of number of hours or days, what constitutes sufficient early notice.
  5. The vast majority of employers and employees have been able to work out mutually workable arrangements. As a last-resort safeguard, employees who think they have been unreasonably denied childcare leave, can report their cases to MOM.
  6. I thank the Member for highlighting the current information on childcare leave found in the MOM website. Presently, the write-up does not make a clear distinction between legislated childcare leave versus practical advice aimed to promote mutual trust and harmony between employees and employers. MOM will review the information to make the details of childcare leave clearer.