Eldercare Leave

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Kuik Shiao-Yin
Nominated MP

Question No. 946

To ask the Minister for Health: (a) what is the outcome of the Ministry's study on legislating eldercare leave for employees; (b) what are the barriers that impede legislation of eldercare leave; and (c) from 2012-2017, how many working caregivers do not have eldercare leave and how many working caregivers quit work to care for an elderly family member full-time.

Written Answer

1        We recognize that caregiving is an important responsibility and is no easy feat, particularly for those who have to juggle between work and caregiving roles.  The Ministry of Health has strengthened efforts to support caregivers by expanding the capacity of aged care services and the number of home and community care options. 

 2        We have been studying the issue of legislating eldercare leave in consultation with unions and employers.  On balance, we are not ready to legislate eldercare leave at this time, as we need to strike a balance between employers’ concerns on business costs and manpower constraints, and the employability of caregivers, versus the need for additional leave provision for eldercare purposes.  There are existing leave provisions that can be used for this purpose.

3        According to MOM’s Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, some 176,200 females aged 25 to 54 were outside of the labour force in 2016, of which 10% were due to caregiving for family members or relatives.  In relation to that, we encourage companies to provide more family-related leave benefits which can be used for different purposes, as well as flexible work arrangements.  We track this provision and the trends have been encouraging thus far. 

4        67% of employees working in companies that offer at least one formal flexible work arrangement last year, up from 56% in 2011.  Close to 8 in 10 employers also provide unplanned time-off or ad-hoc teleworking for their employees to attend to personal matters.

5        Public service agencies currently already provide two days of parent care leave per year.  Some private companies have also done so.  OCBC offers two days of family care to employees who are not entitled to childcare leave.  Cerebos Pacific Limited, a manufacturing company, also offers family care leave on top of statutory leave. 

6        We will continue to review the need for legislating eldercare leave as our socio-economic circumstances evolve over time.

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