Paternity leave please?

Singapore-based women’s rights group AWARE recently made the call to make paternity leave mandatory, arguing that Singapore’s current parenting leave policies – where new mothers are given four months’ maternity leave while father’s are not entitled any – reinforce unhealthy gender stereotypes and do not help declining fertility rates.

Some key policy recommendations include making paid paternity leave of two weeks mandatory, converting of the 4th month of maternity leave into ‘parental leave’ to be taken by either parent, and a $4000 ‘parenting present’ to fathers who opt to take up the 4th month of paternity leave. The recommendations also suggest that any costs incurred will have to be shared between the state and the employer.

Naturally, these proposals have drawn mixed reactions from the ground. Economist A/P  Dr Tan Khee Giap, for instance, expressed concerns about the proposals’ cost-effectiveness, stating that

“If such a law is passed, similar requests of this sort will also come forward and they expect the Budget to pay for it. It will be a burden to the country’s Budget and the economy would have to grow fast. More foreign workers would have to be accepted. Instead, the Government should encourage and leave it to employers to provide paternity leave.” (Taken from this TODAY article)

An ST poll has also reveal contrasting sentiments towards the recommendations. Notable reactions to the policy measures include concerns about whether these measures sit well with our society’s current values, burden the employers too much, or might even be seen as a step backwards if the 4th month of transferable leave is not utilized effectively.

What are your own thoughts on the proposal to make paternity leave mandatory?

Do you think Singapore is ready to accept such a measure? Should we even be open to it?

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18 thoughts on “Paternity leave please?

  1. Guys should have paternity leave too to take care of their wives! However, if both parents stay at home, then there will be no breadwinner, and this may result in unwanted consequences. Sometimes one needs to sacrifice for the greater good.

  2. In today’s modern society, there has been a revolutionary change where a large proportion of the male’s job is taken up by the females.

    We can see that a larger proportion of females are taking up high profile and posts in various companies. During the recent recession, there were more males who lost their jobs as compared to females.

    Therefore, if Singapore wants to raise the TFR, it has to shift more of the parenting responsibilities to the male because more females are now career oriented and may not wish to take 4 months off their work but is afraid that if they do not take this 4 months, their child will not be nurtured to their fullest ability. We agree with AWARE’s notion that we should allow the 4th month of the maternity leave to be shared.

  3. Paternity Leave Please.
    Paternity leave should not be made mandatory, as employers stand to lose out. It will be a burden to the country’s economy and heavy on the country’s budget. However measures such as no OT or less work load for fathers-to-be can be taken instead of paternity leave for a period of about 12 weeks after the child is born. 🙂

  4. Even though men do take more responsibilities in looking after their children these days, and women are gradually spending less time with the children. I think that paternity leave is less needed still as the men are not the one who suffer 9 months to give birth.

    Generally, the women still suffer more and although more of these females are working, the population of working females are overthrown by the number of working males.

    However, it is true that in rare cases, the men are “house-husbands” and instead of offering paternity leave to all men, special exceptions should be made for only these people instead.

  5. Giving out paternity leaves might increase the national budget, but it might lead to a healthier society where unhealthy stereotypes are not propagated and both men and women are given the time and opportunity to spend time with and look after their children.

  6. Reply to Eugene and Aloysius: Maternity leave is not given for women just to take care of the kids but to also recuperate after giving birth. Unless you say that guys are the ones who have to carry the child for 9 months while working at the same time, then yes I will give you paternity leave.

  7. What are your own thoughts on the proposal to make paternity leave mandatory?
    Having paternity leave to be compulsory will allow the family to bond closer after a new life is added on to the family instead of the infant being a burden to the family in the initial stage of change. It will also allow the father to have a greater sense of responsibility to take a part in looking after the infant and build a stronger bond to the child.

    Do you think Singapore is ready to accept such a measure? Should we even be open to it?
    The monetary incentive of paid leave and extra family time will be accepted in families. This will also be a factor of encouraging couples who are considering whether or not to have children to add on to the population of our country, especially if the taking care of the infant is only left to the mother without any help with family members or nanny. We should be open to this as the cost is on the state and employers, the cost on having children is reduced. However, it may be a financial as well as manpower burden on the employers.

  8. I do not really agree with this paternity leave scheme. Though it is stereotyping men and women to both the private and public roles, we can’t say that it is gender inequality. Women and men are made differently with different physical and intellectual qualities. Hence, it would be difficult for men to become stay at home dads (though it may be just for a month)to look after their children who actually need the mother’s presence for certain needs. Moreover, the children are already attuned to the mother’s way of caring. So, when the dad props up and asks the child to do things his way, the difference in teachings or care might cause the child to feel insecure. As the child has to work in both his mum’s and dad’s direction. Additionally, employers would
    not be thankful for this scheme either. If the fathers are on paid leave ( don’t forget the pay is by the employer), the company not only will lack manpower, but it will also fund those who are not exactly contributing to the company ( leave for a month is going to be disastrous to the company)! Hence, there might be an uprise of recruiting foreign workers and retrenchment of local workers—leading to unemployment issues again!

  9. I have to add on. The government may be funding this scheme, but if most of the national funds are used for this, other aspects of the country such as education, healthcare, etc, would be greatly affected! It is not that with government incentives, e.g. baby bonus, Singaporeans will surely give birth to more and increase the population.

  10. What are your own thoughts on the proposal to make paternity leave mandatory?

    we think that paternity leave should be mandatory because it gives more time for family bonding and would thus lead to a closer relationship among the members. in the long run, the children would be more willing to support their parents and thus the government would not need to spend such a large proportion of the country’s expenses, trying to support the elderly.

    Do you think Singapore is ready to accept such a measure? Should we even be open to it?

    we think that singapore is ready to accept such a measure and should be open to it because every parent would wish to spent more time with their children. given the paternity leave, it gives the parents more incentives to raise children. this may lead to parents getting encouraged to have babies and thus reduce the percentage of the aging population in singapore.

  11. I think that paternity leave should be validated by the government. Males should be part of their children’s growing up process as well. In addition, some mothers have to give up their careers to take care of their child. Therefore, the fathers can take over and allow the mothers to carry on with their careers.

  12. Males need paternity leave. Implementation of paternity helps to promote the view of gender equality in the world. Moreover, males need some time to slack as well. Let us play with the children too..
    Encouraging maternity leave would lower the status of woman in the eyes of man as some may deem it as a sign of weakness. Although it is understandable that maternity leave is needed for mothers to recuperate, males should be allowed to have leave to aid and support their life-long partners.

  13. I feel that there is a need for fathers to get paternity leave, so that they can get close bond with their children and they are also able to watch the first days of their newborns.
    We should accept and be open to paternity leave because with the equality between men and women, fathers do have the rights to get similar benefits as women do.

  14. We should have mandatory paternity leave. Because both parents have responsibility to take care of the baby. Not all caretakers and maids can be trusted to take care of the child because it’s not their own.

  15. What are your own thoughts on the proposal to make paternity leave mandatory?
    I do not agree with paternity leave scheme. The reason why mothers have maternity leave is for her to recover from carrying at super heavy baby for 9 whole months. But the father doesn’t suffer that sort of burden and should not be compensated as well. Furthermore, if you bring up the point that fathers need to take care of their children or spend time with their children, they can always do so after they come home from work. Perhaps it could give them something to look forward to when they get home.

    Do you think Singapore is ready to accept such a measure? Should we even be open to it?

    I do not think we are ready to accept such a measure because we are already lacking in the working population. NOOO.

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