The government has announced it will bring the second week of paternity leave into law, making it compulsory for all employers
The second week of paternity leave, now voluntary for firms, will be legislated, Senior Minister for State Josephine Teo told reporters on Friday (18 March).
The government is now looking to confirm a date when this change will come into effect, she said, adding that employers will be given adequate notice.
Paternity leave was first introduced in 2013 with companies being offered four months’ notice beforehand.
“They adjusted quite well. I'll see what I can do to give them a little more notice [this time],” Teo said.
First announced in August 2015, the extra week of paternity leave is offered by firms on a voluntary basis. It is paid for by the government which hopes it will help parents achieve a better work-life balance.
Teo also talked of plans to enable working mothers to share some of their 16-week paid maternity leave with their husbands.
Since couples can now only share one week out of the full 16 offered, Teo felt this could be expanded especially since some mothers wished to return to work sooner.
“We are in consultation with employer groups and the labour movement [on this],” she said.
While some Singaporean employers have expressed concern that these flexible work arrangements will increase business costs, Teo urged a broader perspective.
Over the past week, the Minister talked with South Korean and Danish employers while on a tour of the two countries and asked why they supported these types of policies.
“The response from the employers was very consistent: because it makes good business sense,” she said.
“If we’re able to fulfil this aspiration of employees to achieve better work-life balance, to meet their requirement of having more flexible work arrangements, then we stand a better chance of getting more talented employees and that is good for business.”
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