Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang
MP for Nee Soon GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development for 2017 and 2018 (a) what is the take-up rate of parent-care leave by public servants; and (b) what is the number and percentage of private companies that currently offer parent-care leave.
Civil servants are eligible for up to two days of parent-care leave per year, and they have the flexibility to take this leave in full or half day blocks. In 2017 and 2018, the percentage of eligible officers who took up parent-care leave was 43% and 44% respectively.
More companies have offered paid parent-care leave over time. From an MOM survey, 20% of companies in the private sector offered such leave benefits in 2018, up from 15% in 2012.
To further support employees with unexpected care needs, the tripartite partners have also encouraged more employers to adopt the Tripartite Standard on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs, regardless of whether they already provide parent-care leave. Today, 700 companies employing about 250,000 workers have adopted this Standard.
Caregivers have given feedback to the Government that they prefer flexible work arrangements (FWAs) over parental leave, as a more sustainable way to balance work and caregiving responsibilities. Arrangements such as telecommuting or flexible working hours provide caregivers with greater flexibility if they need to take some time away from work for ad hoc parental care duties.
Employees have greater access to FWAs today. More than 9 in 10 employees today work in companies that provide some form of work flexibility. Among those who needed FWAs, more than 8 in 10 employees had access to the FWA that they needed. To encourage more companies to meet their employees’ FWA needs, MOM increased the Work-Life Grant budget from $30 million to $100 million in July 2019. This scheme allows each company to receive up to $105,000 over two years, to help the company maintain their employees’ FWAs on a regular basis, whether it is flexi-time, flexi-load or flexi-place. MOM and the tripartite partners will also continue to actively promote the Tripartite Standard on FWAs.