This is a ‘cut’ I delivered in Parliament on 7 March 2013 during the Committee of Supply debate for the Prime Minister’s Office.
Currently parents of Singaporean children under age seven are entitled to six days of paid childcare leave .
Younger children tend to fall ill more frequently than older children, particularly when they first start attending childcare. One bout of HFMD, which requires the child to stay at home for at least a week, can wipe out an entire childcare leave entitlement for the year. While the law provides for six days of unpaid infant care leave for children under two, the fact that it is unpaid renders it of little value to most employees.
Furthermore, whether a parent has one or three children under age seven, his or her paid childcare leave entitlement is the same.
Would the Government therefore consider granting parents about two additional days of Government-paid childcare leave for each child under the age of three? This will not only help parents of younger children, but also give greater benefits to parents who choose to have more children.
Next, unmarried single parents are entitled to only two days of childcare leave, and employers are not reimbursed for this. It is ironic that single parents have fewer childcare leave benefits, even though they probably need them more than married couples because they have no spouse to share the childcare load with.
In order to make our childcare leave scheme more effective and equitable, can the Government give all parents of Singaporean children, including single parents, equal childcare leave benefits?