Madam Halimah Yacob articulated in her speech at the Exemplary Father Award ceremony at Orchard Hotel, on Sunday (July 14) on how companies can retain and attract talent if they provide for pro-family schemes that benefit working fathers and emphasises parenting as a shared responsibility between couples.
“Offering such pro-family initiatives in addition to good salaries will help to attract and retain talent,” the president said.
She made mention that Singapore lags behind when it comes to new fathers taking paternity leave, with only about half choosing to do so, compared to 70%-80% in Nordic countries. She also urged companies to implement flexible policies for working dads.
Support from employers is valuable in inspiring new dads, and even, long-time fathers, to play a more dynamic role in their children’s lives, she added.
Congratulations to Mr Abdul Manaf, finalists and all the nominees who are equally deserving of the Ain Society Exemplary…
A government paid paternity leave scheme was introduced in 2013 for married couples and was doubled to two weeks in 2017.
For some companies, additional paid paternity leave of up to a month was provided for working fathers, Madam Halimah said, although she admitted that these kind of organisations are still a minority in Singapore.
According to the president, a culture shift within the workplace and within people’s mindsets is imperative to foster the use of paternity leaves by working fathers.
Take-up rates for paternity leave, which stood at just 25% in 2013, have since more than doubled to 53%. However, this percentage is a lot lower compared to nations such as Denmark and Sweden, said Madam Halimah.
“Working fathers may choose not to take time off work for fear that their supervisors and colleagues view it negatively, or that doing so may affect their employment and career progression,” she said.
Specifically, Madam Halimah pointed out the role of fathers evolution over the years, with many now more engaged in parenting and the day-to-day management of the household.
“It is not uncommon to see modern fathers changing diapers or participating in school activities with their children. And this change is for the better,” she said.
Today, many working fathers are increasingly searching for companies that offer flexible arrangements.
Mr Abdul Manaf Rahmat, a senior religious officer at Masjid Kassim, was awarded the title of Exemplary Father at the event for spending Sundays with his family while working extra jobs to pay for his three children’s education. His children, all graduates of the National University of Singapore, give back by working as teachers and social workers.
Ain Society, which is supported by Malay and Muslim organisations, aims to celebrate good role models and inspire younger dads. -/TISG