More aid for retrenched parents, those of stillborn and adopted kids
More help is on the way for retrenched parents and those of stillborn and adopted children, as part of efforts to encourage Singaporeans to have more children.
Employers who voluntarily grant paid parental leave to employees who have not met the criteria to qualify for it can get reimbursed by the Government, under changes to the Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA) passed yesterday.
The law is best known for governing the Baby Bonus scheme.
During the debate on the proposed changes, Minister of State for Social and Family Development Sun Xueling told Parliament that they are aimed at bolstering support for Singaporean children and their working parents, as well as employers, amid a changing environment.
As part of the changes, two new schemes will allow parents who are ineligible for paternity or adoption leave to qualify for benefits of up to $30,000 instead, calculated based on their income.
"Some working fathers and adoptive mothers may not qualify for paternity leave or adoption leave under the CDCA, respectively, owing to their employment arrangements," said Ms Sun.
The new benefits for working fathers and adoptive mothers are similar to those already extended to working mothers under the government-paid maternity benefits scheme, but with cash given in lieu of the government-paid share of leave.
The schemes are not intended to replace existing paternity leave and adoption leave schemes, said Ms Sun. Those who qualify for these leave schemes will not be eligible for the new benefits.
However, the benefits can be paid out to parents whose contracts expire or who are retrenched while they are on parental leave, to cover the remaining government-paid leave allowance that they have to forfeit.
Another notable change is that parents of stillborn Singaporean children will now be entitled to the leave allowances and benefit schemes they would have received if their children had been born alive.
Ms Sun said her ministry will also have the discretion to reimburse progressive employers who have allowed employees to take parental leave even though they had not worked the minimum of three continuous months prior to the birth or adoption of their child.
Other changes are aimed at tightening certain policy gaps.
For example, fathers - whether married or unmarried - will now be disqualified from paid childcare leave and unpaid infant care leave if their children are born from extramarital affairs.