Several firms to offer 4 weeks of paternity leave
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Several firms to offer 4 weeks of paternity leave

Paternity depart will double from two to 4 weeks from subsequent yr, though will probably be voluntary initially. However some companies say they’ve already gone past the present obligatory two weeks of paternity depart.

Regardless of issues over the tight labour market, most firms CNA spoke to mentioned they’ll double Authorities-paid paternity depart for his or her workers from two weeks to 4 weeks – in keeping with the Price range 2023 announcement on Tuesday (Feb 14).

Some additionally mentioned they already present versatile work preparations in order that their workers can higher stability household {and professional} commitments.

The rise in paternity depart will apply to fathers of Singaporean kids born from Jan 1, 2024.

Employers can select to grant the extra two weeks of depart on a voluntary foundation and can be reimbursed by the Authorities, with the scheme to be made obligatory sooner or later, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong mentioned in his Price range speech.

Mr Wong additionally introduced that unpaid toddler care depart, which may be taken within the youngster’s first two years, can be doubled from six to 12 days per guardian per yr from 2024.

The general public service will take the result in enhance paid paternity depart. It already permits public officers to take as much as 4 weeks of extra unpaid toddler care depart, mentioned a Public Service Division spokesperson in response to CNA’s queries.

Dr Robert Yap, president of the Singapore Nationwide Employers Federation, mentioned that any enhancements to parental depart provisions must be “balanced with employers’ manpower and operational wants”.

“Taking a phased method to the brand new parental depart provisions … would permit each employers and dealing mother and father time to regulate to the extra depart and make depart preparations accordingly, topic to work exigencies,” he famous.

In his Price range speech, Mr Wong mentioned that rising government-paid paternity depart on a voluntary foundation would give employers extra time to regulate, particularly contemplating the prevailing financial circumstances in addition to manpower and operational challenges.

Mr Wong additional famous that take-up charges of Authorities-paid paternity depart had been low when it was first launched a decade in the past. In the present day, greater than half of fathers take it.

“With the doubling of paternity depart, I hope the message is evident: We wish paternal involvement to be the norm in our society, and we are going to stand behind all our fathers who need to play an even bigger position in elevating our kids,” he mentioned.

Mr Kurt Wee, president of the Affiliation of Small and Medium Enterprises, mentioned it is vital for companies to help their nation’s nationwide coverage, particularly because the Authorities is paying for the extra paternity depart.

He added: “For enterprises to help this, I don’t suppose it’s going to be a difficulty.

“From SMEs’ perspective, they are usually family-centric with their HR coverage, and provides and take right here and there to make that point.”

Ms Anna Low, head of private tax and world mobility companies at KPMG in Singapore, mentioned that the extent to which employers take up the scheme can be influenced by developments within the expertise market in addition to financial circumstances.

She added: “The Authorities may also think about how one can progressively introduce the paternity depart scheme, for instance, first to mid- to large-cap firms that will have extra manpower sources than smaller entities.”

Mr KC Kwa, chief govt officer of HR software program agency JustLogin, mentioned that it’s going to start providing 4 paid weeks of paternity depart to workers from subsequent yr.

“We perceive some firms could face challenges in implementing this coverage from the beginning, within the context of the tight labour state of affairs in the present day,” he added.

“Nevertheless, since it may be taken flexibly over 12 months, it must be acceptable to most SMEs provided that the wage price can be reimbursed by the Authorities.”

Mr Kwa mentioned that as an HR software program resolution supplier, his agency can even assist its clients to undertake the brand new tips when they’re prepared to take action.

Coaching supplier APACSMA mentioned that on high of extra paternity depart, the Authorities ought to encourage and incentivise firms to undertake work-from-home and hybrid preparations – one thing that the agency gives to its workers.

This may permit fathers to spend extra time with their kids and help their households, mentioned its founder and CEO Zeenath Kuraisha.

“We observe the Ministry of Manpower’s stipulated guidelines concerning paternity depart laws. The rise in paternity depart can be very useful for fathers to not solely help their wives but additionally permit extra time to bond with their kids,” she added.

Bigger companies advised CNA that they’ve already gone past the present Authorities-mandated two weeks of paid paternity depart.

Insurer Prudential has offered its workers with three weeks of paid paternity depart since 2017. Feminine workers are additionally eligible for twenty-four weeks of paid maternity depart, greater than the mandated 16 weeks.

The corporate will start offering 4 weeks of paid paternity depart from subsequent yr onwards, mentioned its chief human sources officer Sheela Parakkal.

“We recognise that fathers are enjoying an even bigger position in child-raising and are eager to make use of their paternity depart to bond with their youngster,” she added.

Equally, multinational expertise agency Cisco has given its workers 4 weeks of paid paternity depart since earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. It additionally gives grandparents with three days of paid time without work for every grandchild born.

Mr Andy Lee, managing director of Cisco Singapore and Brunei, mentioned: “These insurance policies are part of our dedication to fostering variety and inclusion and supporting households of every type all through all journeys.”

International regulation agency Linklaters – which is headquartered in London and has an workplace in Singapore – mentioned that since Could 1, 2021, its workers who’re main caregivers of youngsters are entitled to as much as 26 weeks of paid depart.

New mother and father who are usually not the first caregivers can rise up to 4 weeks of paid depart.

“These advantages apply to all our workers within the area, no matter their gender, nationality or marital standing,” mentioned Ms Laure de Panafieu, head of employment and incentives at Linklaters Asia.

Permitting fathers of non-Singaporean kids to take paternity depart could be an additional welcome change, she added.

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