With all the population talk going on the mainstream and social media, it’s hard not to get drawn into this. While politicians, statisticians, economists and the like fight over the nitty gritty, here’s what I think should be implemented in my alternate universe. But then who knows… these ideas might just work on our sunny island as well. ;)
1) EaTogether Reward Scheme taken
As part of the plan to increase the time Singapore families have to bond, the Singapore Government is introducing an application to reward families that eat together! Each household can register the house address and number of family members that are part of the household. Every time a family has dinner together before 8pm, they will receive one “Family Dinner Validation” point by logging onto the application’s website to have a family photo as verification. The accumulated Family Dinner Validation points can then be claimed as GST offsets or subsidised utilities. Every month, top families that have dinner together will be put into a grand lucky draw for a year end getaway! This scheme will be extended to other types of bonding when successfully implemented.
2) New Work-life Balance Laws
Employers are now mandated to track the amount of overtime that staff clock. Employees will then be fined for every hour accumulated above the stipulated 40 working hours a week. Once any staff hits an accumulation of 10 hours in a month above the stipulated working hours, he/she will be forced to take one day’s leave with immediate effect. A hotline should be set up to whistle blow on employees who are noticed to be clocking more hours than they should be and a therapy session with a work-life balance counsellor set up.
3) Take a $10K holiday – courtesy of the Government!
In a bid to increase the TFR, the Government will be setting aside an annual sum of $10 million to fund couples’ holidays. The all-expenses paid holiday grant, which has a cap of $10K per couple per year, allows couples to travel the world without paying a single cent. The catch – couples must have child within the next 12 months. If the couple fails to do so, their holiday grant will be withdrawn. Couples can exercise the holiday grant option as often as once a year, as long as they fulfil the requirement of a child within 12 months. This scheme is set to drastically increase the number of births by enticing couples with paid romantic getaways and hoping they will be in the mood to pro-create. The Government intends to re-evaluate the scheme and extend it further to family holidays should the annual Budget permit.
4) Work-life Balance Equipped Offices
Think computers that give you an hour’s notice at 5pm that your laptop will shut down by 6pm so that you must finish all work before the automatic power outage. Complete with automatic shutdown laptops are auto-lock offices that will lock its doors once it hits 6.30pm. There is no over-write system so employees are forced to work efficiently to finish work on time.
5) Home-Block Family System
With advances in technology, an AI software that has been installed in over 5 million Singaporean homes has been developed that screens all incoming text messages, phone calls and emails to ensure that work messages, phone calls and emails do not disturb sacred family time. The Home-Block Family System is activated automatically between the hours of 8pm and 8am on weekdays and over the entire weekend. The AI system is smart enough to track the frequency of emails, calls or messages from a particular colleague and send a warning should they contact a member in the household about work excessively. The Home-Block Family System guarantees uncompromised quality family time.
What are some of the not-so crazy ways you think Singapore can achieve a better work-life balance and higher TFR?