Following announcements of its enhanced leave benefits for its Hong Kong employees, Standard Chartered has announced that these benefits will also be made available to the bank's staff in Singapore and Malaysia.

According to a statement from the bank, as part of its family-friendly culture, fully-paid maternity leave for female Singapore employees to 20 calendar weeks, while male Singapore employees continue to enjoy two calendar weeks paternity leave.

At the same time, compared with the current industry entitlement of four weeks, new adoptive mothers at the bank will also benefit from 20 calendar weeks’ leave.

When approached by Human Resources, a spokesperson from the bank confirmed that the its employees in Malaysia will also be entitled to the 20-week maternity leave. Adoption leave, however, differs from market to market. Staff in Malaysia will be entitled to 2-weeks of adoption leave.

These parental benefits will be effective from 1 April 2017 and will be available to all employees of the bank, regardless of length of service, and will be.

Charlotte Thng, head of human resources, Standard Chartered Bank Singapore, said: "Women are key contributors to the bank’s business. 45% of the bank’s management team in Singapore are women, and for the past three years, females comprise almost 50% of the workforce in Singapore."

"We recognise the dual roles many of them have to play, and want them to succeed both at work and at home. We believe that fostering and building on a culture to help our people balance their personal and professional commitments will deliver strong benefits for both the bank and employees," Thng added.

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Ramping up flexible working practices

Additionally, to help employees meet their personal and professional goals, Standard Chartered announced that it will also be empowering employees with the flexibility to work part time, choose flexible working hours, or work from home on selected days, subject to the nature of their roles and managers’ approval.

Based on the bank's internal statistics, flexible working arrangement has grown in popularity. In 2015, the flexible working take-up rate grew 10% year-on-year, and increased to 30% year-on-year in 2016.

"People are our greatest asset and developing a strong Singapore core is a key priority for the bank. We are always looking to strengthen our staff welfare, as well as to retain and groom talent," Thng said.

"Internal studies carried out show that employee motivation has evolved, and that staff feel more motivated at work when they receive better support in the integration of their professional and personal lives. Both the bank and our people stand to gain when we give them greater empowerment through initiatives such as a flexible-working arrangement," she added.

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