Friday, January 18, 2013

Paid Paternity Leave for Singapore?

There is much talk and buzz going on that the White Paper on Population to be discussed in Parliament in early 2013 might include the possibility of paid paternity leave for fathers (of course).  While mothers are already entitled up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, fathers have not been given that entitlement.  And all that could be set to change this year.

A quick check on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave) shows that most developed countries have some form of paid paternity leave. Last year, NTUC also called for 2 weeks of paid paternity leave. In fact, quite a few employers already practise paid paternity leave (usually around 2-3 days). In a newspaper report last year, PM Lee was reported to have indicated  that  "paid paternity leave may finally get the nod".  Maternity leave is however not likely to be increased.

Of course, most fathers will welcome the news of paid paternity leave but it remains to be seen how many days of leave entitlement will be introduced.  There might be concerns among Singaporean men that too much paid paternity leave (together with their national service liabilities) might put them in a weaker stead if they intend to look for a job.  In addition, there will probably also not be something too over the top with regard to paternity leave.  For a start, paid paternity leave may be introduced in a bite-sized manner that will probably bring cheers to fathers but also be manageable for employers.

What say you?  How many days of paid paternity leave do you think is reasonable?


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