Josephine Teo, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, recently caused a ruckus on  the online community on her comments about OCBC Bank giving PSLE leave.

Apparently both the minister and netizens may have misunderstood OCBC's intention.

An insider from OCBC Bank clarified that OCBC Bank is not giving its employees additional leave. The new PSLE leave scheme simply allows the bank employee to bring forward unconsumed leave to the following year that employees can take if their kid is sitting for PSLE.

This program is part of their Care initiative which the bank would like to bring to its employees and hopefully that gets reflected on employees' relations to bank's customers.

Josephine Teo, however, wrote that her immediate reaction was "over-the-top".

Wrote Ms Josephine Teo,

"... The bank may have been well-intentioned when introducing such leave. But they may not have realized that this feeds into fears of parents, and that they are somehow unusual if they don’t take leave during their children’s PSLE.

There are many things we hope to see employers doing for their staff. PSLE Leave should NOT be one."

In her second post, Josephine wrote,

"We should take time out for any occasions we feel are significant in our families e.g. wife dealing with difficult pregnancy, husband on overseas course, grandparents on pilgrimage, kids preparing for major role in school play. And great if an employer supports such time-out.

Why single out PSLE though? The bank providing such leave suggests it should be the norm for parents to take leave for their children's PSLE. That is what I'm uncomfortable with. The bank’s other initiative e.g. sabbatical leave etc are very welcome as we all could use some regular time-out to re-charge. "

The OCBC insider also shared that the bank has announced a three month "Career Break" for staff who have been in the bank for more than five years.  They can take the break to do anything, including caring for their loved ones.


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