Returnship? What’s that?

TL;DR – Helping those who want to get back to work.

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They say that having children changes your life completely. Often that the children become the centre of their parents’ lives. It’s not uncommon that one parent will give up his or her career and stay at home to take care of the children. But children grow up. And when the children reach an age where the parent no longer needs to stay at home to take care of them, what then?

Some of these parents may want to get back to work. It will help them build up a nest egg and be better prepared for their future needs. However, after not working for years, it may not be that easy for them to get back to work. Employers may not be willing to take the risk to try out someone who has been out of the workforce for a while. These parents could certainly do with some help.

That’s what the Returnship Programme aims to do.

What is it?

The  Returnship Programme is one of the recommendations for Budget 2017 that NTUC put forth. The programme will offer stay-at-home parents who want to return to work a job trial spanning two to four months. During that time, employers get wage support. Upon completion of the trial, a successful job seeker would be offered the position, and perhaps even embark on actual Professional Conversion Programmes training.

The wage support helps encourage employers take a bit of risk to try out someone who had been out of the workforce for a while. With the training and the work trial period, the employers will gain a valuable staff with good work experience.

What’s being done to make it happen?

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo recently posted on Facebook that since she joined MOM in May, she has been keen to support the development of the Returnship Programme.

Specifically, Ms Teo said:

“The tripartite partners want to encourage more companies to adopt progressive workplace practices. We plan to introduce a series of Tripartite Standards that will help jobseekers identify such good employers, including those that offer flexible work arrangements not just for parents but also those with other caregiving needs. We might also support companies which offer job-sharing opportunities.”

This is a development that NTUC welcomes. Labour MP Desmond Choo said in a post on Facebook that he is extremely heartened for the show of support by Ms Teo.

He understood that “employers will need added support to implement workplace practices and schemes to attract, re-integrate and retain returners.” He revealed that talks have been going on with MOM on this. He hoped that MOM will give due consideration and funding support to employers who offer permanent positions to returners after successful completion of the job trial.

Employers, government and labour movement must work together

Will the Returnship programme work?

It depends.

It will take concerted effort from employers, the government and the labour movement for the programme to succeed.

But if it does work, then stay-at-home parents who wish to get back to work can confidently look forward to re-igniting their careers.
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Author: Jake Koh

Recovering sushi addict, I'm a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery.


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