Letter of the week #1: Help older stay-at-home mums return to work

When stay-at-home mothers in their 40s and 50s had children 10 to 20 years ago, affordable childcare was neither available nor subsidised.
When stay-at-home mothers in their 40s and 50s had children 10 to 20 years ago, affordable childcare was neither available nor subsidised.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

One group that will find it challenging to benefit from the proposed changes in retirement age is stay-at-home mothers in their 40s and 50s.

When they had children 10 to 20 years ago, affordable childcare was neither available nor subsidised. Employers were resistant to flexible work arrangements.

So the women traded their careers, financial independence and dreams for full-time mothering.

Current training and job-placement programmes are largely focused on displaced workers. Agencies doing training or placements usually have key performance indicators to provide candidates who are ready for immediate employment.

But these mothers - whose children are now in school or working - who now want to rejoin the workforce find that they need help and more to restart their careers, having been out of working life for such a long time.

I hope the Government will consider investing in preparing these women for their return to work. And it may mean undergoing training for up to a year.

Most training programmes now are intensive full-day, evening or weekend courses, which would mean that the mums will be away when their kids are home.

Agencies conducting such courses should have more mum-friendly class schedules, for instance, in the mornings, and also take into consideration the school holidays.

E-learning and group work are also effective training tools.

In this way, the women, when they return to work, can build up their retirement nest eggs and Medisave funds, instead of just being dependent on public schemes such as the Merdeka Generation Package.

This would also boost their self-esteem.

Yeo Miu Ean