HPE just joined a small group of employers in Singapore who give new parents 26 weeks’ paid leave – and dads qualify too

Under HPE’s new policy, new parents can take more than 6 months off to care for their baby full-time – and still get paid.
The Straits Times

Becoming a new parent can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, and in 2019, more employers in Singapore are striving to help their workers get through the difficult transition period.

On Monday (Oct 21), American tech giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise joined a small but growing group of companies in the Republic offering employees an unusually long period of paid time off when they welcome a baby into their lives.

Part of the “Work That Fits Your Life” initiative, HPE employees – both men and women – in Singapore will now get up to 26 weeks (around 6.5 four-week months) of paid leave when they become parents.

Employees must have been with the company for at least a year to be eligible for the 26 weeks of paid leave. This leave – which applies to employees whose children were born or adopted on or after May 1 this year – must also be used within 12 months after the birth or adoption.

The company will also provide parental transition support, which includes flexible and part-time work arrangements for up to 36 months, to employees who just had a baby or adopted a child.

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This “provides employees more time to bond with their new child and also helps them transition back to work”, HPE said in a statement.

It added that the new benefits were introduced “in recognition of the importance of equal parenting and the role that workplace culture can play in supporting it”.

Small number of employers offer more parental leave than law requires

In Singapore, mothers usually get 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave while fathers get two weeks of government-paid paternity leave when they have a baby.

Read also: Singapore ranked worst place for women to work among top ‘gender-equal’ nations, with about 20% less pay and savings than men

However, in recent years, a small number of employers (usually multi-national corporations) have started to offer extended parental leave benefits.

UK firm Diageo – which owns brands like Guinness, Haig Club, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and more – implemented 26 weeks of fully-paid maternity and paternity leave at its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore starting from May this year.

That same month, Michael R. Bloomberg told Bloomberg LP employees via a global memo that 26 weeks of paid parental leave – consisting of 24 weeks of leave and one day off per week for 10 consecutive weeks – will be given to male and female employees who are primary caregivers of their child.

Another global corporation that offers employees 26 weeks of fully-paid parental leave is Salesforce, an American software provider famous for its “Ohana” company culture.

According to a benefits summary uploaded on the Salesforce.com Benefits website, employees at its Singapore office get 26 weeks’ paid parental leave if they are the primary caregivers of a child. Secondary caregivers can also apply for up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

In 2017, Standard Chartered Bank Singapore also implemented 20 weeks of maternity and adoption leave for its female employees.

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