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Childcare leave and unreasonable bosses: Alert MOM so it can help

The Straits Times (17 November 2009) : Childcare leave and unreasonable bosses: Alert MOM so it can help


The Straits Times (12 November 2009) : Childcare Leave – Employees' dilemma

Childcare leave and unreasonable bosses: Alert MOM so it can help
- The Straits Times, 17 November 2009

We refer to the letter “Childcare Leave – Employees' dilemma” (ST, 12 Nov), where Ms Ler Liling shared that her friends had been denied childcare leave by their employers.

2.   Childcare leave is a statutory benefit under the law. This enables working parents to spend time with their children and better balance their work and family commitments. As in all other forms of paid leave, both employers and employees are encouraged to discuss and agree on a suitable arrangement for employees who wish to go on childcare leave.

3.   The Ministry takes a serious view of unreasonable employers who deny employees their statutory rights, including childcare leave entitlement. Affected employees can approach MOM for assistance. We urge the friends of Ms Ler to email or contact (65) 6438 5122 to provide details of their cases so that the Ministry can look into the matter. We would also like to reassure them that all information given to the Ministry would be kept strictly confidential.

4.   Under the Employment Act, employers who refuse to grant childcare leave to employees without reasonable grounds may face a penalty of a court fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and $10,000 for subsequent offences.

Childcare Leave – Employees' Dilemma  
- The Straits Times, 12 November 2009 

Sunday's report, 'Pregnant? You're fired', reminds me of the similarly unfortunate fate experienced by a few of my friends.

Besides companies that try all ways and means to penalise pregnant employees, there are also those that do not practise childcare leave entitlement as stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower.
Some of my friends were not allowed to take childcare leave. Unfortunately, they were not aware of their entitlement until recently.

Some even approached their companies to request this entitlement, but no formal reply was given to them. Some of my friends have been deprived of this entitlement for years, even before the six days' entitlement came into effect last year.

My friends need to support their families. They cannot afford to put their rice bowls under a hammer by reporting these errant employers.

At the same time, childcare leave is something they are entitled to. Their last resort is to report these companies only after they have left their jobs, which will not get them their entitlement and only make them a 'martyr' in the process.

How, then, should they report their companies?