Juggling the demands of work and motherhood has never been an easy task. Even in the past decade, there has been an increasing number of women in our workforce. While Singapore already has benefits for working mothers (and mothers-to-be), companies are also stepping up to build a more conducive workplace for mothers.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, on Sunday 9 May 2021, we spoke to 4 working mums who shared how their companies went above and beyond what’s required to support them in caring for their children, while also equipping them with the ability to stay equally (if not more) productive.
Ms Teo’s Employer Provided Lactation Rooms For New Mothers Returning To Work
With 4 months of paid maternity leave in Singapore, mothers with newborns typically require a private space for them to express breast milk (about 2-3 times a day) even after they return to work.
Hence, the availability of lactation rooms in office spaces are essential as they provide nursing mothers with a safe and private space to express breast milk while in the office.
Ms Teo, a lecturer at an educational institution said, “the nursing room, located at our department’s office, provides a very comfortable environment for working mums who want to continue breastfeeding even when [they’re] back at work.”
“There’s a sofa seat with (power) plugs and a basin with tap. However, there isn’t a fridge in the room as we have a fridge in the pantry,” the mother of a 17-month-old toddler continued.
According to a study by the Health Promotion Board, employers that support their employees to continue breastfeeding found that the savings in reduced absenteeism and recruitment costs far outweighed that of providing breaks and facilities for breastfeeding.
The same study also found that companies with lactation support programmes had an average retention rate of 94% and noticed an increased in morale and productivity among employees.
Ms Alexis Oh’s Boss Allowed Her To Work Part-Time With Her Company So She Could Spend More Time With Her Firstborn
Mothers with young children often find it difficult to juggle between work and caring for the needs of their children.
Ms Alexis Oh, a division communications manager at Vopak – a tank storage services company, shared that she was plagued with a “constant guilt” that she was “not doing enough for her kids”.
After raising her concerns and preference to work part-time with the company, Ms Oh was granted a work-week of 3.5 days so she could care for her first-born who was then 2.
“The supportive environment motivated me to give my best at work while giving me more quality time with my family,” said the mother of 2 children, aged 2 and 5 today.
Ms Dorothy Png’s Employer Provided Her With Flexible Working Arrangements Before WFH became A Norm
Even before COVID-19 reached our shores and working-from-home became a norm, Ms Dorothy Png, a social worker at a family service centre, was able to take time-off when needed. She added that while this was a privilege, it was also important not to misuse it.
“I’m thankful for my co-workers who stood-in for me at work especially during the times when I needed to take urgent leave to attend to my ill children who were then in preschools,” shared Ms Png.
“The flexibility and openness of discussing work arrangements like WFH with superiors while needing to attend to my children’s needs allowed me to function well at work, knowing that the workplace cares for the well-being of staff and their family,” said the mother of 2 children, aged 5 and 7.
Ms Wrisney Tan’s Boss Implemented A “Bring Your Child To Work” Day
Children, especially the younger ones, often feel downcast when their mothers leave for work. Thus, it is important for companies to organise events such as “Bring Your Kids To Work Day” so that children can better understand the significance of their mother’s job.
Ms Wrisney Tan, a director at local Investor Relations firm, August Consulting, shared that her company has a yearly tradition where employees get to bring their children to work for a day.
“They [her children] are given “jobs” by the staff, one of which is to dress up the Christmas tree, and to do “media clippings”. At the end of the day, they receive “wages” from my boss,” said the mother of 2.
“As a mom, I am touched by the company’s efforts to create a meaningful experience for my kids to teach them responsibility and give them a snapshot of what mom does every day. I think it makes them appreciate me more,” said Ms Tan with a smile.
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