Longer leave 'groundwork' for dads to be more active at home

Dads found wearing the Celebrating Fathers movement's wristband got goodie bags yesterday. One such dad was Mr Adrian Gerard Seah, seen here with his sons (from left) Alexander, Alpherius and Angelo.
Dads found wearing the Celebrating Fathers movement's wristband got goodie bags yesterday. One such dad was Mr Adrian Gerard Seah, seen here with his sons (from left) Alexander, Alpherius and Angelo.PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

A policy change to give fathers a second week of compulsory paid leave from next year is just laying the "groundwork" for dads to be more active at home, Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo said yesterday.

The attitudes of employers and co-workers will also go a long way in helping to show support to fathers, she noted.

"We want an environment where everyone in the workplace feels that it is supportable, as well as desirable, for fathers to take time off when it's necessary to do so," said Mrs Teo during an event held in conjunction with the Celebrating Fathers movement.

Yesterday, Mrs Teo and 45 volunteers went around Bishan to spot fathers who wore a blue wristband - the movement's symbol to show appreciation for fathers - and hand them goodie bags.

In April, Mrs Teo announced that fathers will get two weeks of mandatory paid paternity leave. Currently, only one week is compulsory.

She said: "Research shows quite clearly that when fathers are actively involved in the child's development, the children do better."

A total of 700,000 wristbands have been given out to all children aged between two and 19 across childcare centres, kindergartens, and schools, for them to give to their fathers.

The Celebrating Fathers initiative is held over June and ties in with Father's Day on June 19.

Mr Teh Hoe Leng , 40, a father of two sons, aged seven and 10, was one of those sporting the wristband yesterday. He said: "The wristbands are a good reminder that fathers need to be active in taking care of their children."

Adrian Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 05, 2016, with the headline 'Longer leave 'groundwork' for dads to be more active at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe