A second week of paternity leave will be put into law for fathers of Singapore citizen babies born from 1st January 2017, announced Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo.
Shared parental leave will also be increased from one to four weeks. This leave will be shared from the mother’s maternity leave.
If you include the six days of childcare leave and one week of unpaid infant care leave, fathers will be able to take up to two months of leave within the baby’s first year.
For mothers who have adopted children, the leave will be increased from the current four weeks to twelve weeks. This will apply to infants below one year of age. The government will fund eight weeks and employers will fund four weeks for the first two adopted children.
“We have timed this round of leave enhancements to give employers some time to adjust and plan,” said Teo. “We hope employers that are in a position to do so, start to extend paternity leave even before legislation kicks in so that parents of children born earlier can also benefit.”
There are nearly 34,000 Singaporean babies born last year, the highest in over a decade. The government also acknowledges that the key to better birthrates is not economical, but social.
“Ultimately, people now marry and have kids because they want to, not because they have to” said Teo.
Other family friendly efforts by the government include inttroducing and improving on schemes like KidStart, Fresh Start Housing, Child Development Account (CDA) First Step, Parenthood Provisional Housing and Work-Life Grant.
Flexiwork arrangements are also being debated and considered.
“Legislating (the) right to flexiwork arrangements is always going to be tough but our young families need it. Am Glad that Govt will carefully study this proposal” said labour MP Desmond Choo in a Facebook post.