Unrealistic for firms to bear eldercare burden

Unrealistic for firms to bear eldercare burden

It is not an easy task to balance a worker's need to take care of the elderly and a boss' worry over productivity and manpower needs ("Why eldercare leave is not feasible" by Mr Cheng Shoong Tat, and "Show of support for families" by Mr Muhammad Dzul Azhan Haji Sahban; both published on March 29).

We need to arrive at a compromise without affecting the company's operations.

Would granting eldercare leave replace home-care services? What are the desired results, if eldercare leave is only for a few days a year?

Does it help to address the long-term problem of our ageing population?

Eldercare leave may be an interim solution, but it will never become a permanent one because we will face more disabilities as we age.

The long-term solution is to have a ready pool of home-care providers to assist families who need help in caring and transporting their elders to and from hospital appointments and rehabilitation.

This may mitigate the manpower costs without the need to grant eldercare leave.

Voluntary welfare organisations and centres run by clans and religious entities can also assist.

To encourage them, the Government can match donations dollar for dollar.

It is unrealistic to pass the burden of eldercare to companies.

Employees should use their annual leave as far as possible, instead of relying on eldercare leave.

Employers should be given the flexibility to grant eldercare leave when the annual leave is exhausted, out of compassion and to maintain good rapport with employees.

Francis Cheng

Francis Cheng


This article was published on April 7 in The Straits Times.

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