The Business Times
Friday, Oct 26, 2012
AT OCBC Bank, it has sunk in that employees are probably only as happy as their 12-year-old children.
Now, anyone working for OCBC Bank or its subsidiaries can squirrel away up to 15 days' leave and carry it forward to the next year so that they can stay home to help their child study for the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
What OCBC Bank is calling its PSLE Leave Scheme applies to any employee with a child sitting for the examination in that particular year. For subsidiaries outside Singapore, the scheme is implemented for the equivalent of the PSLE in that country.
The company does not have statistics on how many employees across its more-than 7,000 staff are liable to all go on leave at once for PSLE study season on average, but is prepared for a concentration of such employees in a particular department.
"Staff can take the PSLE Leave, and we will redeploy staffing resources or, if need be, supplement with temporary staff to ensure smooth business operations," said Ernest Phang, senior vice-president of group human resources, OCBC Bank.
Already, the move is being met with approval from staff members.
"PSLE is just as stressful for me as it is for my son, and I really want to be there for him during this critical time. OCBC obviously recognises how important this milestone is to us, both parent and child, and I'm thankful for that," said Jean Oh, head of branch service and risk management at OCBC Bank.
Those without tykes are also included in OCBC's latest bout of leave largesse, with three consecutive months of unpaid leave open to anyone who has served at least five years - under the new Career Break Scheme.
While on this scheme, employees will still be covered under the company's insurance plans for medical treatment and hospitalisation. The use of this scheme is capped at two such breaks over the course of a staff member's employment at OCBC.
The company started noticing a demand for sabbaticals when it saw how the number of employees who were granted sabbatical leave had more than doubled in the past five years.