Parliamentary Reply by Minister Indranee on Review of Parental Leave for Multiple or Preterm Births
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
MONDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2023
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang:
To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether the Government has undertaken any review of parental leave policies to increase leave for parents of multiple or pre-term babies; (b) if so, when was it conducted and what were the findings from the review; and (c) if no review was conducted, whether the Government will consider conducting such a review.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister):
We regularly review our parental leave policies and other measures to better support the caregiving needs of parents of young children.
In 2017, Mr Ng had raised this issue of increasing leave for parents with multiple or pre-term births. We recognise that these parents may have greater caregiving needs. As such, the Tripartite Standard on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs was introduced in 2018. Employers who adopt this Standard commit to provide additional unpaid leave of up to four weeks per year for parents with a child below the age of two, who is (a) born preterm, with congenital conditions or as part of multiple births, or (b) has any other medical conditions, subject to mutual agreement with the employer.
As announced at Budget earlier this year, we will double the Government-Paid Paternity Leave from two to four weeks for eligible working fathers from 1 January 2024. Unpaid Infant Care Leave will also be doubled from six to 12 days per year per parent, in the child’s first two years. Parents with multiple or pre-term births can tap on these enhanced leave provisions to have more time to care for and bond with their newborns, or to settle caregiving arrangements.
Beyond legislated leave provisions, it is more important and sustainable for employers to provide a family-friendly work environment, and show understanding towards parents who may require more time to care for their children after birth. The Government will continue to work closely with the Tripartite Partners to promote family-friendly workplace practices.