0803 Oral Answer by Senior Minister of State for Manpower, Dr Koh Poh Koon, to PQ on Parental Leave for COVID-19
NOTICE PAPER NO. 565 OF 2021 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER 30 JULY
QUESTION NO. 1444 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: MR SAKTIANDI SUPAAT
To ask the Minister for Manpower when a childcare centre or a school is officially ordered to be closed because of links to COVID-19 cases (a) whether the Ministry can consider granting the parents special leave that is beyond the normal childcare leave so as to take care of the child under such circumstances; and (b) if so, whether the leave can cover the period that the childcare centre or school is closed.
- We recognise that working parents may face additional challenges when childcare centres or schools have to close temporarily due to links to COVID-19 cases.
- Today, each working parent of a Singaporean child is eligible for up to six days of paid childcare leave if their child is under the age of seven years, or two days of paid extended childcare leave if their child is between seven and 12 years old. In addition, almost half of all employees in Singapore have more than 14 days of annual leave. Parents may wish to tap on these leave entitlements to cope with closures.
- Any enhancements to leave, even if time-limited, will need to take into account the manpower and operational needs of employers. A more sustainable way to support parents would be through providing more flexible work arrangements. Together with our tripartite partners, we have introduced Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements, on Work-Life Harmony, and on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, to encourage and guide employers in creating a work environment that helps parents manage their work and family responsibilities. In the past year, more employers have also adopted flexible work arrangements such as flexible hours or remote work. These go a long way in helping parents and we encourage more employers to do so.