A boost for work life balance?

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A local bank is now allowing its employees to take PSLE care leave during their children’s PSLE. We find out what Singaporeans think of this.

shutterstock 99376793 A boost for work life balance?Work-life balance is something that every working parent would like to achieve and as a nod to that need, one company has introduced two new schemes that will help improve work-life balance amongst their employees. That family friendly company? OCBC.

The schemes could benefit up to 7,000 staff from OCBC and its subsidiaries – OCBC Malaysia, OCBC China and Great Eastern Holdings.

An extended break
The first scheme announced by OCBC is the three month career break. This scheme allows eligible employees to take a sabbatical (unpaid) of three months  consecutively up to two times throughout their career. These breaks can be taken for any reason at all ranging from spending more time with the family, doing social service, taking an extended holiday or just to rest and relax. What’s more, during this time, the employees will still continue to be covered under the company’s insurance plans for medical treatment and hospitalisation.

According to Ernest Phang, senior vice-president of group human resources at OCBC, such a scheme could boost productivity as “Many of them will want to just recharge, and when they come back, they will be all ready to take on new challenges.”

PSLE leave
OCBC has also introduced the PSLE leave scheme which will take effect in January 2013. For this scheme, OCBC is allowing its employees to save their leave days and use them beyond the normal deadline to clear their annual leave. What this means is that there is no extra leave per se, just the option to apply for up to three weeks of leave to help their child prepare for their PSLE examination.

According to Mr Phang, the reason for having such a scheme was because the company had noticed that quite a number of employees who were applying for sabbatical leave did so because they needed time off to help their children for the PSLE.

We do applaud OCBC’s initiative to boost work-life balance for their employees but what do the average Singaporean think? Readers we spoke to had different reactions.

Abdul Kassim, 55, a father of four, says, “It’s great what OCBC has done, but I’m just wondering if the PSLE scheme will feed into the frenzy and stress that surrounds the PSLE.”

Farrah Ng, 31, mother of one, says, “I think this is great! especially in the currewnt economic climate we are in. having such leave schemes allows employees the option to recharge and take a time out without having to worry about losing their job.”

We would like to know what you our readers think. Take our poll below.