Singaporean mums who want to return to work, there's good news for you!
Are you considering returning to work after a long break? Read on to find out about new schemes in place to aid mums who took a career break to transition back into the working world!
Many women take a break for a year or two to care for their young children. And when the children are somewhat settled, or off to preschool, these Singaporean mums want to return to work and pick up their career where they left it.
However, more often than not, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The transition may not be so smooth as Singaporean mums who want to return to work may not be able to find a job as easily.
Employers may be hesitant to offer them a job considering that they have been out of touch and their skills may be irrelevant.
To improve this situation, The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) offers monetary grants to companies to conduct paid job trials for Singaporean mums who want to return to work. This aims to aid women in their transition back into the workforce.
Labour MP Desmond Choo said that if both the parties agree, then the trials will lead up to a permanent position.
In light of such grants, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has introduced a Returnship Programme, where women jobseekers are given guidance and training to ensure that their skills are up to date and that they are the right fit for the job.
Along with NTUC, Career Navigators, an arm of social enterprise [email protected] has also launced its Career Re:Launch programme targeting female professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs) who have been away from work for at least 2 years.
However, these organisations are only touch-points that can help companies file for the grants. The decision to offer the grant, and the money, ultimately comes from MOM.
How does it work?
- Singaporean mums who want to return to work apply for a ‘trial’ job in a company
- Prior to starting, they will attend some brief training modules on business and technology to ensure that hteir skills and knowledge are up to date
- A mentor (ideally someone younger) will work alongside them to enable both paties to exchange ideas
- This is in addition to the on-the-job training employers offer during the 12-week work-trial period
- In this time, employers will pay staff a minimum monthly allowance of $2500
- For a period of up to 6 months, the government will sponsor $1500 of this amount
- If the employer keeps the staff for at least 3 consecutive months after the work trial period, the government will then give the employers a one-off retention bonus of $3500
Why Singaporean mums who want to return to work are valuable
On one hand, employers may hesitate to employ these women in fear of what they missed out during the break. On the other hand, these women are still valuable to the company for they have years of experience from their previous careers.
Labour MP Desmond Choo mentioned, “They (women returning to work) have also gained newfound perspectives and strengths – such as resourcefulness, resilience and heightened multi-tasking abilities – during the time they spent on personal commitments”.
What it’s like for employers
We spoke to social enterprise, [email protected] founder Sher-Li Torrey to find out what she had to say.
Mums are definitely very receptive to this scheme. We have been receiving great response from the time we announced the launch of it. But when it comes to Singaporean mums who want to return to work, the problem lies with the companies and thus the grants are to support the employers.
Realistically, the companies need some pushing to accept these returning mums. There is always the fear of them ultimately not taking up the job, or leaving after the company has invested the time, money and resources to train them.
Additionally, these companies also have to answer to fellow members and other employees why they are choosing to hire these women who may not be as relevant as they once were. The company is ultimately doing them a favour.
Take for example the case of digital marketing – even being away for a year is a huge amount of time as a lot of things can happen in a year!
To Singaporean mums who want to return to work
We know that sometimes you are nervous to try as you may second guess yourselves. Mums have to be sure about themselves.
Look at it as a win-win situation. Instead of looking at the scheme and asking, what’s in it for you, do also consider what you can give to the company. If both the company and the mum returning to work look at it in this light, then it’s worth it for both parties.
And mums, when you return to work after a long break, don’t be too conscious of yourself and the time you spent away from work. Don’t compare yourselves to what kind of employee you were before you took the break.
Some things will be easy and some things will be hard. There will be positive comments and there will be negative comments. Take things in your stride and remember that returning to work is a conscious choice that you made.
You first made the conscious choice to stop work when your kids were born and still in the early stage. But they will grow up at some point and you don’t want to look back and regret or feel that you have nothing left for yourself.
So mums, if you are want to return to work but are hesitating, fret not for there is ample support available!
Source: The Straits Times
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