In a media interview with state media Straits Times, Senior Minister of State Josephine Teo said that Singaporean fathers should thank Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the approval of 2 weeks’ paternity leaves:
“When Singapore announced in April that it will introduce a mandatory two-week paternity leave starting next year, the business sector was somewhat surprised. They have PM to thank for it because PM was very supportive of the idea of daddies playing a bigger role.”
As the Minister in-charge of population matters, Minister Josephine Teo said that her priority will be to encourage the millennial generation – born between 1981 to 1997 – to have babies.
Singapore have always maintained the lowest birth rate in the world for the past decade, with a fertility rate of only 1.24 in 2015. Due to falling purchasing power resulted from the increase in cost of living, Singaporeans are putting aside family planning and putting longer hours in employment to maintain an unaffordable lifestyle. Although Singaporeans currently clock the longest working hours in the world, many are still financially struggling and unable to retire.