NTUC’s family development unit, U Family, conducted a Happiness Poll to find out the state of mind and well-being of Singaporeans last November. The poll shed some insights into the contributing factors to one’s happiness level. Some 5,720 U Family members were polled on whether married persons, married couples with children and employees with work-life balance, were generally happier in life. The results validate Labour Movement’s existing and upcoming action plans to help working families.
Profiles of Respondents:
Total Respondents Polled: 5,720
- 2 in 3 Females
- 6 in 10 have 2 or more children
- 19% No child
- 22% 1 child
- 40% 2 children
- 19% 3 or more children
- 9 in 10 aged below 55
- 2 in 3 holds a Diploma & above
- 6 in 10 earns between $2,000 & $6,000
- 8 in 10 are working full-time
- 8 in 10 are married
Respondents were asked how happy they are. Some 61% indicated they were happy, while 5% said they were unhappy. 34% gave a Neutral response. Of the 61% respondents that said they were happy, we found:
- More Females than Males were happy - 62% Females vs 59% Males
- More Part-timers were happy than Full-timers - 66% Part-timers vs 60% Full-timers happy
- More Married Persons were happy - 62% Married Persons vs 55% Single Persons happy
Contributing factors to respondents’ level of happiness:
The NTUC believes we can do better in following areas that showed respondents had inadequate family time:
When asked what would make them happier, Work-Life Balance and Financial Stability came up tops:
a. Work Life Balance
- 26% respondents cited more Work-Life Balance, Flexible Work Arrangements, More Personal and Family Time.
- 73% who were happy with their Work-Life Balance were happy with their job.
- 70% who were happy with their Work-Life Balance agrees that they have supportive employers
b. Financial Stability
- 30% cited financial stability.
The results enable NTUC to formulate our action plans accordingly. Moving forward, we will engage various stakeholders as we believe every employer, employee, community and the unions, has a role to play and should collectively work towards our vision of a Mini-Denmark, where residents are happy, and fathers are active in shared parenting and mothers rejoin the workforce:
- Unions will engage companies to implement Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) & Right to Request for FWA in Unionised Companies. The Right to request for FWA should be extended to all parents, priority to parents with children with special needs and parents with very young children. Employers may review employees request for FWA. Any refusal must be shown by employer to have been made on “reasonable business grounds”.
- 7Unions will discuss with Companies to set up action plans and goals to support employees for Work-Life Harmony. NTUC’s Women’s Development Secretariat (WDS) & Hospitality & Consumer Business Cluster will support in the implementation and review of work practices and systems to allow employees to participate in childcare.
- Unions will work with Companies to embrace an Inclusive workforce where there is greater support for working persons with elderly parents and young Children, new mothers and back-to-work women.
- Last year, NTUC advocated for shared parental leave, paternity leave & childcare leave in our recommendations submitted to the National Population & Talent Division (NPTD). Most of our recommendations were incorporated into the enhanced Marriage and Parenthood package. We are further heartened that two of our recommendations were announced in Budget 2013:
||Latest Budget Announcement
- Ensure all children start their lives with a basic level of childcare. Government to provide a preschool fee structure that is similar to our primary school model. A nationally recognised curriculum as a basic standard for preschools.
|Government to boost quality of preschool education.
- Steps should also be taken to enhance quality and affordability of after-school care, particularly for primary school children.
|Government to expand number of school-based student care centres.
- We will continue to advocate for 6-month Government-paid maternity leave and 6-month unpaid maternity leave. We hope that mothers can return to the same job and same pay after leave.
- We are also exploring with the Government to include the right to FWA in a set of Tripartite Guidelines for a start. In the initial stages, the focus could be on employers with larger workforce sizes and their employees. The Government may also wish to provide grants/incentives to promote and educate companies on FWA.
- In addition, we will discuss with the Government on introducing childcare leave for single, unmarried parents.
- Unions will set up U Family Chapters to push out pro-family initiatives. These chapters will work with the companies to implement work life initiatives.
d. Communities / Families
- U Family will work with grassroots organisations to build a pro-family environment.
Ultimately, the Labour Movement wants employers and employees to Value Every Worker, Value Every Community/Family, and the Government to Value Every Singaporean.