Mailbox: Help pioneers more with caregiver leave

Mailbox: Help pioneers more with caregiver leave
Madam Mary Koh (centre) had suffered a stroke that robbed her of the ability to talk, walk or take care of herself in 1999. Her children Jaime (left) and Daniel have taken on more of the caregiving so their father gets to spend time with friends.

I applaud the Government's Pioneer Generation Package benefits and how it recognises the pioneers' efforts in making Singapore what it is today.

The package sees to the health-care needs of the pioneer generation, but more can be done.

We can start by recognising that the pioneer generation needs caregivers to accompany them for check-ups at clinics or hospitals.

The working caregiver often needs to apply for annual leave or have a helper accompany his parents or grandparents to the clinic.

In the worst-case scenario, the elderly person goes for the check-up on his own.

Caregiver leave in Singapore is currently restricted to employees and their children.

The boost in maternal and paternal leave entitlements also reinforces this underlying bias towards the younger generation.

I am single, and not entitled to any caregiver leave. This means I have to use my annual leave to take my mother to see the doctor.

I urge the Government to look into implementing caregiver leave for people with elderly parents.

Employers should be encouraged to allow single employees to take caregiver leave.

Employees who get childcare leave should have the flexibility to convert some of that leave to caregiver leave too.

This way, we can truly cater to the needs of the pioneer generation.

Christina Soh Ai Ling (Ms)


This article was first published on JUNE 27, 2014.
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