Help all parents to achieve work-life balance

The Government's plan to launch a series of dialogues to help find solutions for new parents to achieve work-life harmony is encouraging (Dialogues planned to find work-life solutions for new parents, June 17).

However, such solutions should not apply only to new parents, as parents' commitment to their children's upbringing is a long-term process.

Extended paternity and maternity leave granted to new fathers and mothers, respectively, is encouraging, but such leave is applicable only for the 12 months after the birth of a child.

All parents will agree that taking care of children involves long-term commitment, and the new generation of parents, fathers included, now desire to have more time with their families.

While traditionally fathers were the ones who went out to hunt and bring home the bacon, this trend has changed.

But the mindset of society has not changed much towards the idea of fathers taking up a more significant role in taking care of the family.

Employers need to be more open to this societal change and be more open to offering more options to fathers who desire more time with their families.

The Government's initiative should also look beyond just granting one-off extended leave benefits for new parents.

Having more childcare centres is also only part of the solution, as parents desire more time to bring up their children and be there during their early years.

The civil service, being the largest employer, should lead by example in promoting work-life balance.

Victor Tan Thiam Siew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2019, with the headline 'Help all parents to achieve work-life balance'. Print Edition | Subscribe