Are you aware of the statutory leave entitlements such as parental leave in Singapore? This includes maternity leave, paternity leave, childcare leave, shared parental leave, unpaid infant care leave and adoption leave. As parenting becomes more of a shared responsibility, enhancements to the entitlements may change and it is important to keep track of the updates from the Ministry of Manpower’s website.
When there is new statutory leave requirement or update being introduced, these changes would have major implications for employers in Singapore. However, employers usually accept these new policies and legislative changes with grudging compliance. The key challenge for employers lies in moving beyond simple compliance with these family-friendly leave policies and executing them with authenticity. Employers need to genuinely embrace these new policies in order to bring about a change to the workplace culture. A survey conducted by the Straits Time and the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices found that 97% of working fathers with young children said they would be attracted to an employer that supports them in managing work and family commitments.
In Singapore, young working parents face the challenge of struggling with balancing work and family life. Most would prefer flexi-work arrangements in order to continue staying active in the workforce, while spending quality time with their family. While a quick solution would be to implement more statutory leaves or make flexi-work arrangement a statutory requirement, most young parents have the fear that taking too many off days would hinder their career progression or falling out of step with their current company culture. Essentially, these new parents seek support from their employers, rather than simple implementation and compliance with leave policies.
While a major paradigm shift is unlikely to happen immediately, employers can always start off by improving the implementation of one policy at a time. For instance, instead of simply complying with the leave legislative changes, perhaps consider communicating to the employees ahead of schedule on how the organisation intends to implement the leave policy. Additionally, holding a series of workplace meetings can help orientate and prepare managers and employees for the upcoming policy changes. This can allow managers and employees to work together to ensure smooth coordination. Upon the implementation of the leave policy, designate a contact point for employees to go to should they have any further queries. Additionally, encourage employees to make full use of their leave and have managers role-model the importance of family-friendly leave by using the policy as well.
With a bit more thought, care and low monetary cost, employers can transform a statutory leave policy into a perk that communicates how much the organisation values and is committed to supporting their employees. By taking baby steps to implement these family-related leave policies with genuineness, it can help to shape the workplace into one with a family-supportive culture. Taking baby steps to implement these family-related leave policies with authenticity, may help to shape the workplace into one with a progressive family-work culture.
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