Minister Joan Pereira asked Singapore's Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say whether the Ministry (MOM) will consider mandating a minimum number of days of compassionate leave for children and grandchildren.

Asked as a parliamentary question, this is in view of the limited number of days of annual leave, particularly for those working in junior positions or lower paying jobs, smaller families and the nation's rapidly ageing population.

Minister Lim noted that this stage, the government has no plans to make it mandatory for all firms to provide specifically for compassionate leave for their employees.

He, however, recognised that employees need support during the time of bereavement, citing results of a 2016 survey which found "more than 9 in 10 companies (92%) provide compassionate leave."

He added that while the Ministry will continue to work with its tripartite partners to encourage employers to voluntarily adopt such progressive workplace practices - it is also important to allow time for businesses to adjust to the family leave enhancements introduced over the last few years.

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CPF LIFE payments was another topic raised, where Minister Leon Perera asked about the number of cases where such payments were not made by the fourth working day of each month.

In follow up, he asked if the Ministry will consider requiring that earlier payments be made in the event that the fourth working day of the month falls on the sixth or subsequent calendar day of the month so as to alleviate cash flow difficulties that seniors may face in such cases.

Minister Lim clarified that from 2011 to 2015, 99.98% of CPF LIFE payouts were paid out by the fourth working day, noting that payouts which could not be disbursed within the timeline were exceptional cases which required further verification.

"For example, for members who are mentally incapacitated, CPFB may need more time to check if there are new court orders issued to ensure that members’ payouts are paid out to a third party who is legally authorised to manage the member’s monies," he shared.

To the second part, Minister Lim noted that CPF LIFE payments are only made after the sixth calendar day in months where a public holiday and a weekend occur in the first week of the month. So from 2012 to 2015, only 133 out of the total 1.7 million payments were made after the 7th calendar day.

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