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9 companies, including AstraZeneca and H&M, to double paid paternity leave to 4 weeks

SINGAPORE — Nine companies here, including pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and clothing retailer H&M, will be doubling the paid paternity leave of their employers next year.

9 companies, including AstraZeneca and H&M, to double paid paternity leave to 4 weeks
Nine companies in Singapore will follow the same paternity leave initiative that furniture retailer Ikea had already put in place for its employees here since 2017. 

SINGAPORE — Nine companies here, including pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and clothing retailer H&M, will be doubling the paid paternity leave of their employees next year. 

Fathers who work in these companies will be able to spend more time with their newborns and partners after they get four weeks of paid paternity leave — up from two now.  

The other companies are: Automation firm ABB, manufacturer Atlas Copco, flooring company Bolon x The Andrews Group, electrical appliance firm Electrolux, supply chain management firm Mentor Media, beauty and wellness brand Oriflame and manufacturing company SKF. 

The nine businesses will follow the same initiative that furniture retailer Ikea had already put in place for its employees here since 2017. 

The nine are member companies of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Singapore, which announced the moves on Thursday (Dec 9) as part of a “#DoubleUp pledge” to double paid paternity leave benefits in Singapore. 

Presently, working fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave funded by the Government. The nine companies making this pledge will top up the fathers’ pay for the extra two weeks. 

Working mothers here are eligible for 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave if they meet requirements such as having been employed for at least three months and having a Singaporean baby. 

The #DoubleUp pledge movement recognises that women should not be disadvantaged at the workplace for taking their maternity leave, but there has to be a recognition that fathers have an important role to play during the early months of a child's life as well.

“Parental leave for both mothers and fathers is one of the levers to building a more equal society,” the pledge states. 

Ms Oldouz Mirzaie, chief executive officer and regional manager of H&M South Asia, is hoping that what the nine companies are doing will “encourage more businesses to take gender equality seriously”. 

Mr Vinod Narayanan, country president of AstraZeneca Singapore, said that these changes will help fathers take a more active role during the early months of a child’s life. 

Although the nine firms will have these benefits in place from next year, some of them have already granted the leave to staff members with babies born at the end of this year. 

One such employee is Dr Vikram Shetty,​​ medical director for AstraZeneca Singapore. 

His first child — a baby daughter — was born just three weeks ago and he is still in the midst of his four-week paternity leave. 

Dr Vikram said that bonding time with his daughter was limited since newborns spend much of their time sleeping.

“The increased time (away from work) gives me the greater ability to learn my new role as a father, to demonstrate it, and to bond with the baby as her personality evolves,” the 43-year-old said. “I am completely in support (of this initiative).” 

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paternity leave baby father employers employees DoubleUp Pledge

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