, Singapore

NTUC urges employers, government to provide more caregiving support to workers

Around 52% of the respondents had to take time off from work for caregiving.

The National Trades Union Congress called on employers and the government to give more caregiving support to workers as the rise of Singapore’s ageing population is affecting the workforce, particularly women, as they have to carry the caregiving responsibilities.

An NTUC survey found that over half of the 1,000 respondents had to take some time off from work to attend to caregiving commitments, whilst over 40% had to take unpaid leave or take leave frequently.

In terms of performance, over 30% experienced difficulties concentrating, with 20% citing tensions or problems with co-workers and supervisors and feelings of isolation and reduced confidence.

ALSO READ: MOH, Australia sign MOU to boost health coordination amidst ageing population

It also found that over 10% rejected promotions and received warnings about their performance or attendance.

“Our population is rapidly ageing. More of our workers will face mounting caregiving responsibilities. Workers need to be assured that they can fulfil both their work and caregiving responsibilities,” said NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng.

NTUC is calling for more flexible work arrangements (FWA) to handle unique caregiving responsibilities. It will also release the Tripartite Guidelines on FWA in 2024.

The union also calls for more support to care for elderly family members by providing workers paid caregiving leave and unpaid leave for unexpected care needs to better care for their loved ones.

The leaves should be flexible to cover chronic illnesses, and physical and mental health conditions, and will cover loved ones related by blood, marriage or adoption. Employers were also urged to review employee support schemes to support workers in managing their responsibilities such as providing medical and insurance coverage to their workers’ elderly family members.

Around 85% of caregivers said they prefer FWA, followed by paid leave for caregiving at 64%, and financial support such as medical/healthcare insurance or subsidies at 57%.

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