Employers urged to do more for caregivers

PHOTO: Employers urged to do more for caregivers

Working Singaporeans with caregiving responsibilities at home need more support from their employers, an online survey shows.

The survey by U Family, the family development unit of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), was conducted in August.

It covered 3,635 caregivers, most of them holding regular jobs. The findings were released on Saturday on the sidelines of an NTUC family picnic event.

About 60 per cent of those with jobs said they struggle to find time to care for their children, aged parents or family members with special needs.

Of the 3,418 working caregivers surveyed, 77 per cent do not have eldercare leave, and 62 per cent do not have flexible work arrangements.

More than 70 per cent of the 217 participants who are not working said they left the workforce to look after family members. Three quarters of them said they would have reconsidered their decision to quit if they had been given flexi-work options.

Meanwhile, Madam Halimah Yacob, the Speaker of Parliament, said that balancing work and family life is the single most daunting challenge that many in Singapore face today.

Madam Halimah, a mother of five, was speaking at the seventh Children's Society Lecture at the Singapore Management University on Saturday, The Straits Times reported on its website.

She called for a more comprehensive set of public policy and community measures to support families. This is particularly important in view of the growing number of dual-income homes, where both parents face the pressures of juggling work and family.

It would also help if bosses are more understanding of an employee's family obligations in offering flexible work arrangements, Channel NewsAsia quoted her as saying.

She also called for legislation on eldercare or family care leave to help ease the strain on work-life balance, the report said.

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