Paternity leave to help with TFR
Since results of the population census have been released and Total Fertility Rate (TFR) standing at 1.2; which is way below the replacement rate of 2, there have been countless discussions on what can be done to help couples have more babies. A suggestion that keeps cropping up is that of paternity leave and having it increased from the current three days that daddies get with the birth of their child.
Generous postnatal leave
One country that is leading the way in postnatal welfare of its citizens is Norway. Understanding that the first three years of a child’s life are critically important, the Norwegian government has implemented new rules to raise the number of weeks that can be claimed by both parents within three years (of their child’s life) to 49 from 47 on full pay and to 59 from 57 on 80 per cent of the salary. Out of this 49 weeks, at least 14 weeks will have to be claimed by the father, compared to the current 12 weeks given. Any leave not claimed by the father will be forfeited.
The move which is sanctioned by Norway's Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, aims to promote equality in the home and workplace. The measure could see more fathers getting involved in child rearing as well as to bridge the gender gap in the workplace.
What Singaporeans think
The postnatal leave system is generous and quite possibly exorbitant in comparison to ours. We took to the streets to see what Singaporeans had to say and whether they would welcome such a generous move by the government.
Mr Iskandar, 33 and a father to a one year old says, “Wow, 14 weeks is really long but since it’s spread over three years I think it would be an incentive for young couples to start a family or have more than one child.”
Mdm Nadia, 50 and mother of four says, “Honestly 14 weeks is too long and I don’t necessarily think such a move would make fathers more involved or not. My husband was very involved with the kids from the day they were born and there was no such thing as paternity leave then. So personally, parental involvement has to do more with internal as opposed to external factors.”
Ms Elva, 28 and a single mother of a four year old says, "I personally think maternity leave is more important and that it should be increased in Singapore especially if the cost of infant care keeps increasing."
Mr Tan, 28, married with no kids says, “I welcome any move by the government to increase paternity leave as there is a need to get fathers more involved with parenting. However, 14 weeks is not practical for Singapore. Also at what cost would such a move be to taxpayers?”
Take our poll and tell us what you think about increasing paternity leave and if there is such a thing as too much leave.
Source: Norwegian dads to get 14 weeks parental leave