In Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech, he said that fathers will get two weeks of paternity leave, up from one week. The government would pay the employee’s salary for this additional week, although the scheme will be rolled out first on a voluntary basis.
While many parents, fathers especially, cheered the government’s announcement, some employers have already begun to express concerns about such pro-family policies.
Employers like Mr Nicholas Goh, the CEO of Verztec Consulting, said such family-friendly measures will help create a happier workforce, but preparations need to be made.
“In terms of manpower crunch and resources wise, it’s a matter of how you allocate existing resources and how you hand over the duties properly before you go on paternity leave,” said Mr Goh. “It’s a matter of embracing good teamwork within the team, and helping each other.”
Verztec Consulting, a communications consulting firm, employs 50 staff, of which about 40 per cent are men.
While some firms were heartened that the government was helping firms to promote a healthier work life balance, there were some who expressed unhappiness at the move.
President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Kurt Wee says: “The cost of an employee more than just a wage – more than just an annual wage or a monthly wage. Employees have a lot of peripheral costs – office space, admin support, HR, finance support – and in small and medium-sized enterprises, where operations and manpower are lean, they might feel a bit of impact.”
Mr Wee hopes the Government can strike a balance between having pro-family policies and creating a pro-business environment.