I was heartened by Wednesday's report ("Build support networks for young parents"), where Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo highlighted that the civil service, as the largest employer in Singapore, will be exploring giving parents the right to ask for no-pay leave in a child's first year.
This reflects the strong commitment of the Government in supporting young parents, particularly towards mothers, as the responsibility of childcare still largely rests on them.
As a mother of a 20-month-old child, I was really appreciative towards my company when it allowed me to take one year's no-pay leave last year to care for my child.
Despite being a non-governmental organisation, it adopted a very progressive human resource management approach.
I can only hope that more companies in the private sector will seriously consider such human resource practices that will provide married couples with another childcare alternative, other than sending their infants to childcare centres, or relying on elderly grandparents and domestic helpers.
While it could be temporarily disruptive to the manpower resources available within the company when one or two employees opt for no-pay leave for a few months, the company may be able to reap other benefits, such as a more committed and loyal staff member upon his or her return, or discovering more productive ways to do things when faced with limited manpower.
A culture of support for married staff in the workplace will motivate them to consider starting their families sooner rather than later, and boost our nation's population.
Annie Chua Hui Ling (Ms)