Temasek Poly staff get 'volunteer leave'

THE staff of Temasek Polytechnic can now take four half-days of "volunteer leave" a year to make a difference in the community they live in.

This is the first time a polytechnic here has introduced a scheme where paid leave will be given for volunteer work at any of the 260 welfare organisations registered with the National Council of Social Service.

DBS Bank was the first organisation here to implement such a system last July. Its employees are given two days' paid leave each year to do community work.

Announcing the plan at the polytechnic's annual Community Day held yesterday to promote volunteer work, its principal and chief executive officer, Dr N. Varaprasad, said many people were satisfied with just making a donation and letting others do the work.

"This is obviously not good enough. Volunteerism is about sacrificing some of our time and effort to help a broader community, usually those who can benefit from our assistance," he said.

"The new volunteer leave will help make it possible for staff to be more forthcoming in their efforts."

This year, 14 volunteer welfare organisations set up booths at the polytechnic, making it easier for those interested in volunteer work to sign up.

The exhibition began on Tuesday and will end today.

The polytechnic's internal audit manager, Ms Janet Lyn, 50, said of the leave scheme: "It's a great idea because I'm involved in community service andsometimes have to take time off from work. Four half-days may not seem to amount to much but it is a starting point."