Reducing childcare leave in Singapore

A more sustainable approach would be for employers to adopt progressive workplace practices to better support parents instead of relying on childcare leave, she pointed out.

On 10 January 2022 (Monday), Singapore's Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Leader of the house in the Parliament, Indranee Rajah, responded to a Parliamentary question on childcare leave, that was posed by Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng. She was responding on behalf of the Prime Minister.

MP Ng had asked the PM for updates on the rationale for reducing the amount of childcare leave from six days to two days when a child turns seven years old, and whether the government is reviewing this especially for working parents who are essential or frontline workers, and are unable to work from home.

In response, Minister Indranee explained that the government recognises that parents need continued support to care for their children even after they turn seven years old. This is why, she noted, childcare leave provisions were extended in 2013—to provide two days of childcare leave per parent per year—for parents with children aged seven to 12 years.

As for parents with children aged below seven years, they continue to have six days of childcare leave per year "as children of a younger age require relatively more care from parents."

These childcare leave provisions are in addition to their annual leave entitlements.

"We take a practical approach in supporting working parents’ caregiving needs, balancing these with the manpower and operational needs of employers, to avoid affecting parents’ employability," the Minister said.

"As mentioned in my earlier replies to Mr Louis Ng’s parliamentary questions on childcare leave, a more sustainable approach would be for employers to adopt progressive workplace practices, such as Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs), to better support parents. Other than working from home, FWAs also include flexi-time and flexi-load, which could help parents with their caregiving responsibilities."

Further, Minister Indranee shared that although frontline workers often have to be physically present in their workplaces, employers can stagger the start and end times of their shifts, or enable shifts to be shared by multiple workers.

"We will continue to work with stakeholders to promote family-friendly workplace practices so that employees can better manage their work and family commitments," she added.

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