In response to MP Christopher de Souza's question on support for mothers returning to work, Singapore's Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo has shared a written clarification.

Minister Teo cited a 2016 Marriage and Parenthood survey, which found women with children below six years have strong preference for "full-time work with flexible work arrangements (FWAs)” rather than "part-time work". For every woman who would prefer part-time work, there are around two to three women who would prefer full-time work with FWAs.

As such, Government support for working mothers comes in the form of:

  • Promoting FWAs,
  • Providing more affordable childcare support, and
  • Providing employment facilitation services including for part-time work.
For the first, i.e. promoting FWAs, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has increased the Work-Life Grant budget from S$30 million to S$100 million, and continues to promote the Tripartite Standard on FWAs.

More than nine in 10 employees today work in companies that provide some form of work flexibility. Among those who need FWAs, more than eight in 10 employees have access to the FWA they need.

For the second, i.e. childcare support, preschool capacity has been doubled from around 90,000 in 2012, to almost 180,000 places today. Minister Teo added: "We will increase preschool subsidies significantly from next year," noted that subsidies are provided for those who work at least 56 hours a month.

For the third, i.e. employment facilitation services, the Adapt and Grow initiative offers a suite of programmes to help jobseekers enter new jobs and overcome mismatches in skills, wages or job expectations.

One of these programmes is Career Trial, which provides an opportunity for jobseekers and employers to try each other out and assess job fit, for a period of up to three months. The Career Trial was enhanced in May this year to include part-time jobs.

Photo / 123RF