SINGAPORE: A recent survey conducted by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has shed light on the pressing need for paid caregiving leave in the workforce. The survey, which polled 1,000 local employees and job seekers, indicates that more than 60 per cent of respondents are yearning for paid caregiving leave to help them manage their dual responsibilities of work and caregiving.

Of the respondents, a staggering 80 per cent expressed their desire for flexible working arrangements. Additionally, 40 per cent of employees disclosed that they had to resort to unpaid leave due to caregiving responsibilities.

One 60-year-old respondent highlighted the challenges many face in juggling work and caregiving duties. He shared, “Now I have to take care of my mother, so my work will be affected to some extent and my income will be affected.” His account laid bare the economic implications of unpaid caregiving, with individuals forced to reduce their working hours and, consequently, their income.

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The findings of this survey have led NTUC to appeal to the Government to implement paid caregiving leave and enhance support for employees grappling with caregiving duties.

NTUC’s secretary general and former People’s Action Party (PAP) Minister Ng Chee Meng called upon employers to step up and provide greater support to these employees. Mr Ng emphasised the importance of implementing paid caregiving leave and flexible working arrangements. He noted, “In this regard, NTUC hopes to cooperate with employers to promote flexible working methods. This is a win-win arrangement.”

The labour movement has announced its intention to collaborate with its tripartite partners to develop comprehensive guidelines for employers regarding caregiving leave. These guidelines are expected to be launched by next year, aiming to alleviate the burden on employees who shoulder caregiving responsibilities.