How A Foreign Company And Local Union Beat The Government

Tower Transit should get a “Best Company For Mums” award.

It’s not surprising to hear a multinational corporation giving better perks than what the government does to its civil servants, but Tower Transit takes the cake this year for setting a new high for maternity leave.

The London-based operator, which will run 26 bus services in Singapore from 2016, is giving its working mummy bus drivers a whopping 26 weeks of maternity leave (or half a year).

In comparison, civil servants and other working Singaporean mothers get 10 weeks less.

Are they crazy?

Working mothers are generally given as little benefits as legally possible. Many companies prefer to hire singles over newly-married women (who have a high likelihood of getting pregnant) or young mothers.

To go the extra mile to give not 1 or 2, but 10 extra weeks of maternity leave than the minimum legal number, is a preposterous thought to managements who are more interested in cutting costs to prepare for the looming economic downturn.

Who put this idea in their heads?

According to the news, the union representing Tower Transit workers negotiated the 26 weeks of maternity leave (together with other perks such as degree sponsorship) and got the company to sign an informal agreement called a Memorandum of Understanding.

Check out how ubiquitous working women are in Singapore, 1 even photobombed the MOU signing below.



An MOU is not legally enforceable, but more like a informal agreement based on the word Tower Transit gives to the union to honour its promises to its employees.

And it’s also an opportunity to announce that their working mummy perks are much better than yours.



Will this change anything for working mums?

I think it’s premature to say that other companies will follow suit, but there is a strong push from the ground for inclusive workplaces.

I see more anecdotal evidence of discriminated mummies taking to social media to air their grievances and an increasing plethora of advice columns for working parents.



In the end, while external parties like the government and union can push for pro-family workplaces, it’s still about the relationship between you and your boss.

This post was first published on Jules Of Singapore.

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