Asian mother carrying and kissing her infant outdoors.

SINGAPORE: A recent report by Milieu Insight shed light on the struggles faced by working mothers in Singapore, highlighting the pressing need for extended maternity leave policies. With five in ten Singapore working mums expressing a desire for extended maternity leaves, it is perhaps evident that the current 16-week cap on paid maternity leave falls short of meeting their needs.

Singapore Business Review reported that in a survey conducted by Milieu Insight, over half of Singaporean working mothers voiced their challenges in balancing work and family responsibilities.

Among these challenges, 64% reported difficulties in managing work and family commitments, while 42% expressed struggles in caring for their own health and well-being.

Job discrimination and unequal pay were also cited as concerns by 21% of respondents. Additionally, 24% highlighted the lack of supportive workplace policies.

The survey revealed that many working mothers experience feelings of guilt when prioritising work responsibilities over family commitments, with 37% admitting to such sentiments. Moreover, 14% expressed difficulties in finding reliable childcare options.

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In response to these issues, working mothers are advocating for remote work and flexible arrangements, with 75% believing that such measures would enhance their work-life balance and facilitate career growth.

Singapore is set to implement flexi-work arrangement guidelines in December, which includes the option for a four-day workweek, offering greater flexibility for working mothers to manage their schedules.

Milieu Insight commended this initiative, noting that it represents a “progressive approach towards flexibility at work empowering mothers to take more control over their schedules.”

However, despite these efforts, Singapore still faces challenges in supporting working mothers, particularly in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries.

According to the report, Singapore has the highest percentage of working mothers in the region (40%) who feel that motherhood negatively impacts their careers. This trend may be attributed to the significant household responsibilities shouldered by 66% of working mothers, including childcare, cleaning, and cooking.

Nevertheless, when compared to 43% in Indonesia, Singapore has a relatively lower percentage of women solely responsible for household maintenance, standing at 19%. /TISG

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Read also: 2 in 5 Singaporeans quit jobs that lack time and location flexibility

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