Mr Saktiandi Supaat asked the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) from 2019 to 2021, how does the take-up rate of Government-Paid Paternity Leave compare with the take-up rate of Government-Paid Maternity Leave; (b) what are the causes for the difference in the take-up rates, if any; and (c) whether the Government is considering taking additional steps to encourage co-parenting.
1. The Government introduced Government-Paid Maternity Leave (GPML) in 2004 and Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) in 2013 for parents of Singaporean children. Eligible working mothers and fathers can enjoy up to 16 weeks and 2 weeks of paid GPML and GPPL respectively.
2. The take-up rates of GPML and GPPL1 in 2019 were 79% and 55% respectively. Data for 2020 and 2021 are not available as parents have up to one year after their Singaporean child’s birth to consume the leave, and employers have three months after that to submit the claims.
3. One possible reason for the lower take-up rate of GPPL compared to GPML is that it was introduced later. The GPPL take-up rate has more than doubled from 25% in 2013 to 55% in 2019, and over time, the gap between GPML and GPPL could close.
4. Going forward, stronger workplace support and a stronger societal culture of fathers being actively involved in raising children could lead to higher GPPL take-up rates.
5. To strengthen workplace support, MOM encourages employers to adopt the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements, Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, and the recently introduced Standard on Work-Life Harmony. Adopters are publicly recognised as progressive employers, including on the MyCareersFuture website which can contribute towards their talent attraction and retention strategy. MOM also guides employers to put in place practices to foster family-friendly environments. The Centre for Fathering which runs the Dads for Life Movement, launched its biennial “Great Companies for Dads Awards” in March 2021. It aims to recognise outstanding organisations that empower fathers to achieve work-life harmony and inspire other employers to follow suit. In 2021, 5 organisations received this award.
6. To encourage fathers to be actively involved in raising their children, alongside the mothers, the Ministry of Social and Family Development has launched the Alliance for Action (AfA) to Strengthen Marriages and Family Relationships. One of its priorities is to work with Families for Life (FFL) and Dads for Life. The AfA will also galvanise the community and corporates to promote active parenting by both fathers and mothers.
1 The take-up rates do not fully reflect the utilisation of parental leave. They exclude mothers who take up to only eight weeks of GPML for their first and second child as employers pay for such leave but are not required to report their utilisation. Secondly, the GPPL and GPML take-up rates exclude parents whose claims were not submitted