Friday, August 8, 2008

More pro-family incentives needed in Singapore


I am waiting, with bated breath, the new pro-family incentive anticipated to be announced at the upcoming National Day Rally. Does anyone know when this is?? Here is my wish list (in no particular order):

1. Longer Maternity Leave. I am not asking for 1 year (like Swedish moms enjoy) since I know this is not going to be possible. I am asking for a realistic 6 months, so that more moms can be left in peace to breastfeed their babies full-time for at least this duration of time before semi-solids are introduced.

2. More childcare leave to spend time with your kids throughout the year. Currently, most companies only allow parents to take 2 more days off per year to spend with their kids. 2 days??? Are you kidding me or what???

3. Designated resting rooms in offices for pregnant and nursing moms to rest and express milk when necessary. The rooms should be quiet and designed to allow for privacy. Perhaps we need a design code for this, looking at how some nursing and changing rooms are designed in shopping malls here.

4. More quality childcare centre near work places. This will allow moms to transition comfortably back to work. The last time I checked at a childcare centre near my old work place, the waiting period for a place in the nearby childcare centre was 6 months! 6 months!!!! I am thankful that I opted for 1 year no pay leave instead to take care of my own kid. But I realise that not many families can survive without both parents working full time.

5. Higher childcare subsidies. Not everyone can afford $600-800 paying for childcare each month. If you have more than 2-3 children, all that an average income earner gets each month will probably all go to these childcare centres.

6. Filing for discrimination at work. Expectant moms should have easy access to a representative body (I am not sure the Ministry of Manpower is good enough) which they can go to if they feel they are discriminated at work or laid off. Not all moms are vocal or brave enough to stand up to their bosses when they are being bullied or made to come to work even when they are not feeling well.

7. Flexi-time. Work places in Singapore especially should stop thinking that physical presence or longer hours in the office = more work done. Based on my own experience, it is usually the contrary. Haven't they heard of the 80-20 rule? It makes more sense to measure each employee's contribution by the actual work he has produced at the end of the day. Allow working parents more flexibility with their work schedule may actually increase productivity as workers try to manage their time more effectively and feel grateful (and are hence more loyal) to their employers for trusting them with how they spend their time.

8. More financial help given to low and even middle income families. With the rising ERPs and cost of living in Singapore, it is really tough to raise a child unless you are earning a lot!

I know that I can think of more than what I have listed above but I will leave it for now...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!!!

Xinning said...

Hello Su Ling, been trolling your blog, and decided to leave my comments.

I dislike children. Human children, (but believe me, I am a normal, functioning human being) and most every one in my social circle is against having kids. Or making sacrifices (taxation, or bearing the workload of a mom... or putting up with ill-disciplined things brawling in public)

That being said, we do respect(as I said, we are functioning, and quasi-law abiding peeps here)your right to an opinion.

Will just like to represent the bunch of us, the obstacles to your wishes coming true, perhaps.

laissezfaire said...

Hi Xinning, thanks for leaving your comments on this post. I understand where you are coming from when you talk about ill-disciplined things brawling in public, the workload of a mom etc...It can be quite trying, especially for families that are struggling to cope financially and emotionally. That is why I think there ought to be more support from the community.