Oral Answer to PQ on Enhancing the Employability of Caregivers
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1704 OF 2023 FOR THE SITTING ON 14 FEBRUARY 2023
QUESTION NO. 4219 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Dr Tan Wu Meng
To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Government will consider a study on enhancing the employability of caregivers through raising awareness among employers of the character traits and personal values demonstrated when an individual has interrupted his career in order to be a caregiver for their elderly or ailing parent.
1. MOM currently has no plans to commission a study to raise awareness of the character traits and personal values of individuals who disrupted their careers to be caregivers for their elderly or ailing parents. We recognise positive traits such as resilience and sense of duty among this group of caregivers. However, we are mindful not to over-generalise caregivers as they are unique individuals after all, and employers ought to assess each of them fairly based on their qualities and ability to meet the job requirements without bias.
2. To support caregivers in returning to work, the Government and tripartite partners encourage the adoption of flexible work arrangements. Having access to flexible work arrangements will enable caregivers to work sustainably around their caregiving needs. We have developed resources such as implementation guides and flexible work arrangements policy templates and conducted workshops to guide employers and HR in adopting flexible work arrangements. We will also be introducing a set of Tripartite Guidelines on flexible work arrangements by 2024, and this will set norms for flexible work arrangement requests to be requested and evaluated fairly.
3. In addition, Workforce Singapore provides employment facilitation programmes and services for caregivers who need support to return to the workforce. For example, Career Conversion Programmes provide training and salary support to employers who hire and reskill mid-career jobseekers for new occupations, with higher support for those who have not been at work for at least six months.
4. Mr Speaker, caregivers returning to work are a resource and talent pool that companies should tap on to meet their manpower needs. I encourage employers to factor in the caregivers’ past work experiences, their qualifications and skills, as well as personal attributes that are relevant to the job they applied for and provide fair support to them in returning to the workforce.