Raise minimum number of days for annual leave

The Government has gone all out to build very family-friendly working environments for all working people, especially with plans to extend paternity leave on a mandatory basis ("Fathers could get longer paternity leave"; Feb 6).

Work-life balance is essential in family bonding, and aids in bringing up children.

Another area the authorities may want to seriously look into is the standard number of days for annual leave for new employees.

The Manpower Ministry regulations stipulate that for one group of employees - workmen earning not more than $4,500 a month and employees covered under the Employment Act and earning not more than $2,500 a month - the minimum number of leave days starts from seven for the first year of service, eight for the second year of service and up to a maximum of 14 days progressively.

This standard is outmoded and should be revamped.

A 2013 survey in Singapore revealed that 55 per cent of respondents said their work demands ate into their family time more than they liked ("Family ties - good; family time - not so good"; May 27, 2015).

Of the men surveyed, 58 per cent expressed this dissatisfaction, compared with 44 per cent in 2009.

Hence, it is imperative to revise the minimum number of leave days for new employees to, say, 14 days, when they first join the company.

This will also allow employees to take quality leave to rest and rejuvenate themselves in their hectic work-life experience.

Donny Ho Boon Tiong