8 May 2017
Miss Sun Xueling
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
To ask the Minister of Social and Family Development (a) what percentage of child care centres currently operate beyond 7 p.m. and do not penalise parents for picking up children after 7 pm; and (b) whether the Ministry can encourage more child care centres to operate till 8 p.m. as normal operating hours and not penalise parents for every 15 minutes beyond 7 p.m.
To cater to the needs of working parents, child care centres are required to operate full-day services from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Around 50 child centres (or about 4 per cent of centres) operate beyond 7 p.m. on weekdays.
Currently, child care centres have the discretion to extend their services beyond the standard operating hours. To require them to do so will add to staffing requirements and result in higher fees to parents. We also do not monitor nor regulate how centres determine additional charges, if any, for late pickups, as these are commercial arrangements between centres and parents. In any case, if parents are unable to pick up their children on time, many of them arrange for other caregivers, such as grandparents and domestic helpers, to do so.
While the Government is committed to enhance the provision of affordable and quality child care to support working parents, I would like to encourage parents to find suitable arrangements that help them to balance their work and family responsibilities. For most young children, parents are their first and best teachers. Spending quality time with children is important to provide a good start for their children.
In this regard, I am pleased to note that more employers are adopting flexible work arrangements, such as more flexible start and end times, to help their employees better manage their family commitments.