SINGAPORE: Nine Swedish multinational companies will double paid paternity leave to four weeks for employees in Singapore.
This will take effect from next year, according to a joint pledge announced on Thursday (Dec 9) by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Singapore (SwedCham).
The nine companies are ABB, AstraZeneca, Atlas Copco, Bolon x The Andrews Group, Electrolux, H&M, Mentor Media, Oriflame and SKF.
In Singapore, working mothers are eligible for 16 weeks of paid maternity leave while fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave as mandated by the Ministry of Manpower.
Urging more to join their “#DoubleUp” pledge, the nine Swedish firms called on other businesses “to take paternity leave seriously and encourage men to participate actively in caregiving roles, allowing women a more equal footing in the workplace”.
Mr Adam Cich, executive vice-president and head of Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at home appliances maker Electrolux, said the current disparity between paid paternity and maternity leave “indicates an expectation that women should continue to shoulder most of the caregiving duties”.
“By increasing paternity leave, our aim is not only to empower fathers to contribute more at home, but also to highlight the important role of the business community to intentionally build corporate cultures that promote gender equality,” he said in the press release.
Echoing that, AstraZeneca Singapore’s country president Vinod Narayanan said gender roles at home have evolved amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And with more people embracing these changes, it is timely for companies to take another step forward by encouraging fathers to take a more active role during the early months of a child’s life,” he added.