Fathers and mothers to new born babies will be able to enjoy better maternity and paternity packages from 1 January 2017.
Paternity leave has increased from one week to two, and shared parental leave will also increase from one to four weeks from 1 July 2017.
In total, fathers will be able to take up to two months of leave in their new born’s first year. These changes was announced by Senior Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s Office Mrs Josephine Teo.
Government will fund the improvements to the new paternity, and shared parental leave packages. Although the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) for 2015 has registered a slight increase more still needs to be done to boost TFR, she added. “We need the collective efforts of the whole of society, by which I mean employers, co-workers, community organisations, and businesses all being supportive, in words and in deeds,” she said.
Unwed mothers will also now be able to benefit from the 16 week maternity leave and the child will also qualify for the Child Development Account. Announced by Minister for Social and Family Development, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, these changes will be in place as early the third quarter of this year. It is noteworthy that former MP for Tampines GRC, Ms Irene Tan, first mooted this suggestion during a Parliament session in 2004.
Mr Tan said, “Unwed parents may be vulnerable if they are younger and lower-educated. Some may have been rejected by their own families. It can be difficult to raise a child single-handedly, without family support. Some may have hoped to have a child within marriage, but ended up as unwed parents by circumstances.”
Mr Tan explained that more can be done in the effort to care for children and ‘reduce the disadvantages that their children may face at birth.’
Summary of all enhancements benefiting families
Photo Credit: Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo