Parliamentary Reply by Minister Indranee on Implementing Additional Two Weeks of Paternity Leave
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 5 FEBRUARY 2024
Dr Wan Rizal:
To ask the Prime Minister (a) what are the strategies being adopted to encourage firms to implement the additional two weeks of paternity leave that are given on a voluntary basis by employers; and (b) how does the Government plan to monitor and ensure compliance with this policy once it becomes mandatory.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
Paternal involvement in child raising at an early stage is increasingly being recognised as important for the well-being of the child and the family. To encourage shared parental responsibility and have fathers be more involved in child-raising, the Government has doubled the Government-Paid Paternity Leave (GPPL) from two weeks to four weeks since 1 January 2024. The additional two weeks are currently provided on a voluntary basis. This is to give employers some time to adjust, taking into consideration the economic conditions, operational and manpower challenges faced by some employers. Employers who are ready to, and voluntarily grant the additional two weeks of leave will be reimbursed by the Government, just as they are for the mandatory first two weeks.
As signalled by DPM Wong last year, we aim to make the additional two weeks of GPPL mandatory as soon as possible. We encourage employers who have not yet done so to make the most of this voluntary period to start adjusting their HR practices to accommodate the additional two weeks of paternity leave so that they will be ready and can transition seamlessly once it is made mandatory.
As with other legislated parental leave provisions, failure to grant mandatory paternity leave to an employee who is entitled to and has requested such leave is an offence, and subjected to the penalties as laid out in the Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA). Employees who encounter disputes with their employers relating to their GPPL entitlements can lodge a claim at the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management.
We are working with employers to encourage them to implement family-friendly workplace practices, including supporting fathers to take paternity leave. For example, in June last year, we worked with Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) to discuss how employers can be family-friendly while staying competitive and productive.
We will continue to work closely with Tripartite Partners and community partners such as Families for Life Council and Centre for Fathering (CFF) to encourage employers to foster a progressive and supportive workplace culture for fathers. The CFF engages companies to promote the importance of supporting fathers in managing work and family, and greater paternal involvement in child-raising. CFF’s Great Companies for Dads Award also recognises companies that have put in place family-friendly policies and initiatives and can inspire others to do so too.