If you’re a new father in Singapore, you’ve got a total of ZERO days of paternity leave at your disposal. New mothers, on the other hand, receive four months. The Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) sees this disparity and wants something done pronto. Singapore has four official languages, so we just gave it to you in Spanish instead.
AWARE said in a conference today (or yesterday, depending on the side of the world you’re on) that there are many reasons for the low birth rate in Singapore, but it’d sure help if mothers and fathers got equal treatment. Evidently, in societies where women are “forced” to be the sole caregiver, the birthrate is lower. If you have raised a small child, you know – if all you have to look forward to day and night is crying and crap-diaper changes, chances are you’re not having more than one.
AWARE calls for five primary changes in Singapore law:
● Make paid paternity leave of two weeks mandatory, with the cost shared between the employer and the state
● Convert the 4th month of maternity leave into ‘parental leave’ to be taken by either parent, with the state sharing the cost with the employer when the father takes this leave
● Offer a ‘parenting present’ of $4,000 to couples where the father takes the 4th month of parental leave
● Convert the currently mandated 6 days of paid childcare leave into dependent’s leave, with ‘dependents’ including older children and parents
● Extend to unwed parents the same parenting leave benefits enjoyed by married parents.
AWARE backed its requests with a survey, from which they received overwhelmingly-positive results. Okay, 91% in-favor isn’t overwhelming, but “whelming” is a word, so the superlative was the only option.