SINGAPORE: Two banks in Singapore are stepping up for new fathers, giving them more paid time off to care for their newborns.
Starting Friday (Sep 1), employees at Standard Chartered Bank will get 20 weeks of paid parental leave “irrespective of gender”, the bank said on Wednesday.
The move to standardise the amount of leave offered will provide “all parents with the opportunity for greater equality in caregiving responsibilities for their children”, it added.
Female employees at StanChart have been eligible for 20 weeks of paid maternity and adoption leave since 2017.
Male employees, on the other hand, are currently eligible for two weeks of government-paid paternity leave and four weeks of shared parental leave.
HSBC also announced on Wednesday extended paternity and maternity leave for its employees. Starting Friday, paternity leave will increase to eight weeks, up from the current two weeks, while maternity leave will increase to 26 weeks, up from 16 weeks.
“With the ever-changing needs of our workforce, we must continue to review and enhance our policies to ensure that we are building an inclusive workplace where our employees can thrive at home and at work,” said HSBC Singapore’s head of human resources Mukul Anand.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered’s group head of human resources Tanuj Kapilashrami said the changes will help address globally prevalent societal norms around traditional roles, improve workforce participation and provide options to those who want to take up shared childcare responsibilities.
“This will positively impact families’ financial well-being and create a more inclusive workplace that supports each individual’s unique family planning choices. We hope that our actions inspire other employers – across industries, around the world – to take similar actions,” she added.
Other banks like OCBC and DBS also have schemes in place to support new parents.
OCBC currently offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, two weeks of paid paternity leave and 12 weeks of paid adoption leave for employees in Singapore, the bank said in response to CNA’s query about its parental leave policies.
According to Ernest Phang, OCBC’s managing director for group human resources, the bank also has support programmes in place, including one that helps new parents integrate back to work after their parental leave.
“All parents of newborns and caregivers have the flexibility to work from home 100 per cent of the time for up to six months, above and beyond the employee’s maternity and paternity leave entitlements,” said a DBS spokesman in response to CNA’s query about its parental leave policies.
“All employees, regardless of gender, with newborn children can claim up to S$5,000 to defray the medical expenses of giving birth.”
CNA has reached out to UOB and Citibank for more information.