Good news for everyone raising (or planning to raise) a family in Singapore — the PAP Government’s supporting you on this.
And letting your boss know.
“We want a society that values family well-being, is supportive of parents and caregiving and is committed to giving each child the best possible start in life,” said Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah at a Forward Singapore dialogue with social sector practioners at the Lifelong Learning Institute this Monday (Oct 10).
“All of these come under the banner of ‘A Singapore Made For Families’,” she added.
Made For Families is an ongoing initiative that supports Singaporeans in their plans to get married and raise families. It’s got info on everything from dating, getting that flat ready for pak tor and then the baby as well as balancing work and family life.
Plus, it listens to people. It got views from its month-long Citizens Panel on creating work-life harmony in Singapore, then shared them with employers and the Government. Ditto this sharing with important stakeholders during last year’s “Emerging Stronger Conversations – Building a Singapore that is Made For Families” exercise.
These conversations were led by Minister Indranee as well as Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Home Affairs Sun Xueling and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu Mahzam, who were there too at the Lifelong Learning Institute meeting alongside DPM Lawrence Wong.
“We need everyone to come together and do their part,” said Minister Indranee on Made For Families’ 2021 Marriage and Parenthood Survey, which found that 80 per cent of young Singaporeans want to get married and 92 per cent of married respondents want at least two kids.
“The Government will make necessary policy moves, but we need the employers and HR managers too. We need them to make a concerted effort to design family friendly workplace culture and HR practices in a way that still allows them to achieve their business objectives while making their employees feel supported.”
“FWAs (Flexible Work Arrangements) will be an important part of this. We want productivity on both fronts — both at work and for the family!” added the Minister.
And dads, you’re important too for family caregiving, she added.
“We need the dads to step up as well, and more importantly, for workplaces to support them in doing so — currently our utilisation rate of paternity leave is only around 50 per cent!”
Best practices for fulfilling those family plans
A couple of best-practice examples for the family? First, look to the skies. (Literally.)
“In today’s newspaper, it was reported that SIA allows air stewardesses to have ground crew jobs when they are pregnant, and the option of going back as air stewardess after giving birth. That is one example of what we can do to make things more family-friendly,” noted Minister Indranee.
Then to the ground. (Metaphorically.)
“Our children grow up fast, develop their personalities and sense of values quickly,” posted MOS Sun later that week (Oct 12) about Positive Parenting Programme (PPP) seminars at Punggol West SMC.
“Their social emotional competencies from a young age have far reaching consequences on their ability to work well with others and thrive.”
These secular, evidence-based PPP seminars are another example of the Party’s practical pro-family programmes in Singapore’s home ground communities. Last month’s (Sep 10) #ActionForHer: Growing Our Circles of Care caregivers networking exhibition was another.
And these changes, positive programming and all-round listening are also all for refreshing Singapore’s social compact for the future. They are, under the Care Pillar of Forward Singapore, for building a country that is a well-loved place where families flourish and grow.
“Families are the building blocks of our society,” said Minister Indranee.
“They provide love, strength and are our anchors throughout life. Refreshing our social compact must necessarily include looking at how we can support and strengthen our families.”
Time then, to look forward.
Cover photo credit: Tobi on Unsplash