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Written Answer by Minister for Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo to PQ on Caregiver Leave

NOTICE PAPER NO. 301 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON 8 MARCH 2021
QUESTION NO. 556 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


MP: Mr Christopher de Souza

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether mandatory care-giver and bereavement leave can be given for care-givers when their aged parents or grandparents are in a terminal situation with a few weeks or months left to live.

Answer:

  1. More than 8 in 10 companies provide compassionate leave today. Such forms of non-mandated leave would not be limited solely to parents or grandparents of the employee, but generally to any close family member.
  2. Adding mandatory leave for care-givers and bereavement may be well-intentioned, but we need to be mindful that it could have the effect of increasing costs to employers, and impact the employability of working care-givers in the long term.
  3. While some care-givers require time-off to care for their aged parents or grandparents, many regard flexible work arrangements (FWAs) as a more sustainable means of support. In MOH's extensive focus group discussions in 2018, working care-givers provided feedback that FWAs were preferred to care-giving leave, due to greater flexibility and sustainability in meeting their care-giving needs.
  4. The tripartite partners have continued to make progress to encourage wider adoption of FWAs. Today, more than 9 in 10 employees, including care-givers, have access to FWAs – up from more than 8 in 10 in 20112.
  5. We will do more to entrench the practice of FWAs that has become more prevalent during the pandemic.