MP Louis Ng calls for more leave for workers, but what if it drives more local workers out of jobs?

By March 6, 2020Current, People, Work

TL;DR – Employment security should not be jeopardised just so that workers can have more employee benefits.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (March 3) during the committee of supply debates, MP Louis Ng called for the Government to review the minimum annual leave entitlement of seven days, as well as to legislate parent care leave for all workers.

Ng also took to social media where he urged netizens to help him share and spread the word of his advocacy.

View this post on Instagram

I fought hard for parent-care leave and more annual leave for everyone but the reply was “no”. Government wants to focus on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA). I support FWA but we need to remember that a lot of workers won’t have FWA. Especially NOT for the frontline workers we have been paying tribute to in the past few weeks. It’s very hard for nurses to have FWA. Same for teachers, preschool teachers, security guards, cleaners, the list goes on. Thats why I’ve said this is not a zero sum game. We can have FWA for some and legislate parent-care and more childcare leave for everyone. For annual leave, we must remember that the people getting the minimum of only 7 days of annual leaves are probably our lowest income workers who do the most backbreaking work. They too need rest like all of us and we have to increase the minimum amount of annual leave for them. This group of workers do not have parent-care leave, childcare sick leave, enough annual leave and FWA. Surely we should help them. I will definitely continue to speak up about this. Check out the video for the debate we had kn this. What do you think 🤔 Help "Share" and spread the word 😊 Thanks! #louisngparliamentaryquestions #weloveneesooneast #neesooncares #homewithaheart

A post shared by MP Louis Ng (@louisngkokkwang) on

 

His suggestion was definitely well-received as we can tell from the response from the comments under his Instagram post, with a majority of the netizens thanking him for speaking up for working parents.

However, one netizen has taken a different stand from the rest:

In his comment to the MP, josephpang1 pointed out that by pushing for more leave for the workers, the move might well backfire on the very people Ng is fighting for.

And you know what? Josephpang1 might be right.

No doubt it sounds like a wonderful suggestion at first glance – because who wouldn’t want more leave?

Unfortunately, to most companies, especially when going through an economic downturn, workers who are entitled to more leave are often perceived as liabilities. Simply because absenteeism affects a company’s productivity.

And let’s also not forget that besides incurring costs on top of productivity loss when there is absenteeism, hiring Singaporean workers would also mean that companies are required to make monthly CPF contributions as well.

Now, put yourself in an employer’s shoes: Would you then prefer to hire a local worker or a foreigner who requires less from you?

As much as I believe that Ng made his suggestions with good intention in mind, but the plausibility of what this netizen has brought up cannot be overlooked either.

Employment security should not be jeopardised just so that workers can have more employee benefits because ultimately, we want Singaporeans to have a competitive edge over foreigners. And not the other way around.

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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