In a burgeoning economic environment, a well thought-out childcare system allows for working parents to work efficiently without worrying too much about their young children. Recently in Singapore, one of the world's leading financial centre, the topic of childcare has been given top billing in the government. The Social and Family Development Ministry, whose focus relies on strengthening individuals and aiding in creating strong families has recently adopted a plan to churn out greater incentives to childcare teachers in an effort to lure in those individuals seeking to work within the sector.
The Child Development Co-Savings Act (Chapter 38A) spells out a means of engaging married couples to have more children, easing the availability of grants in cash, and enabling financial provisions for children, including for the children of divorced families. This Act though established in 2001, has since helped the prosperity of the Singaporean economy. With the advent of encouraging families to have more children, comes the preordained need to provide more childcare services, and it is the Acting Minister Chain Chun Sing's desire to achieve this by adding 20,000 more childcare facilities over the course of the following four years. With the increase of childcare facilities comes an increase in pay for the teachers working in the sector and lucrative scholarships intended to draw in people willing to learn the profession. The Child Development Co-Savings Act thus provides parents whom are covered under the Employment Act with many benefits. For instance, as of May 1st of 2013, eligible working parents are given two days of extended childcare leave each year albeit some conditions such as: - Youngest child must be 7 -12 years of age; - Child must be a Citizen of Singapore; - The Parent must have 3 months of continuous work under their employer. For the self-employed; the same amount of continuous work period is required within the respective trade/profession and must have a loss of income during the time period, which is taken for the childcare leave. - The childcare leaves are not capable of being transferred between two parents. Each parent has his or her own set of days allocated to his or her respective work calendar. - Any and all days that have not been used by the end of the year are considered lost and are not carried into the New Year. Instead, a new calendar year refreshes the childcare leave once more. - Another important fact is if an employee leaves his or her job, then the unused days are lost, as they do not transfer to the new job. Unfortunately, a new cycle of 3 continuous months of employment is then required in order to be eligible once again. Child care leave also cannot be utilized to offset any notice of termination period. Although if used during the termination period, the employer is distinctly advised to allow the leave and it cannot be added towards the termination period.
Conditions aside, the Government itself shall in turn compensate the childcare leave - though capped at $500 (Singapore Dollars) per day. Parents having children younger than 7 years, as well as children between 7 - 12 years old; will gain a maximum of 6 paid days per year. The good news is not simply for the working parent, but even those that find themselves unemployed. Provided an employee has put in a minimum of 3 consecutive months with an employer, and then they are eligible for 2 days of paid childcare leave. The flexibility of the Act also allows for the working parent to have full control over the usage of the childcare leave, so far as not even requiring a medical certificate. The reasons for utilizing the leave notwithstanding, the leave itself is still subject to an employer's approval. A mutual agreement ought to be discussed, though important matters which cannot be rescheduled - such as the registration of a child to a school or an important immunization appointment for the child(ren) at a clinic - the employer is then indomitably encouraged to accept the leave. It would seem it is a good time to be a working parent in a growing Singaporean economy.