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Few firms in Singapore giving paid eldercare leave

Recent ST poll of 20 firms also shows only a few employees use such leave

Published on Apr 19, 2014 7:57 AM
 
HR manager Alvin Yap, 33, and management system consultant Teo Geok Leng, 57, have both made use of the eldercare leave provision that their training and consultancy firm Absolute Kinetics Consultancy provides. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Few companies here are giving paid leave for their employees to take care of their parents, partly because demand seems to be low for now.

A Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) survey of 300 firms last year found that only 4 per cent of firms provided eldercare leave. Seven in 10 of the surveyed firms were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

A recent straw poll of 20 companies - including large corporations and SMEs - by The Straits Times also found that fewer than a third grant eldercare leave.

In all except one of those companies, fewer than two in 10 employees have used such leave.

 
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Background story

AN EMPLOYER'S VIEW

Employers need the flexibility, because the labour market is tight and most are short-handed. It is not that they do not support their staff looking after their parents.

- Entrepreneur Wei Chan, who runs several small food and beverage businesses. Some employers say there is no need to make the arrangement formal because when emergencies arise, they allow their staff to go on short notice anyway

CALIBRATED LEAVE

Such leave helps caregivers like me. Maybe the number of days can be tied to how old the parents are, because those with older parents will need them more.

- Management consultant Teo Geok Leng

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