In December 2021, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Singapore launched a joint pledge for Swedish multinational companies in Singapore to double their paternity leave benefits from two to four weeks starting this year and new dads in the city-state are already cheating the campaign.
Straits Times has spoken to several new dads who work in Singapore-based Swedish firms and they explain how beneficial the extra two weeks of paternity leave have been for them.
The #DoubleUp pledge is inspired by the Swedish furniture giant IKEA which took the first steps to offer twice the amount of Singapore’s two-week paternity leave in 2017. Since then a total of 25 Swedish businesses in Singapore, including clothing retail giant H&M and automaker Volvo Group, have signed up to double paternity leave for employees by this year.
SwedCham Singapore has earlier said that the pledge is a step towards gender equality and creating a corporate culture that encourages fathers to be there for their babies. Something Vikram Shetty, who works as medical director for AstraZeneca, appreciates because his four weeks of paternity leave helped him ease the load on his wife and develop a bond with his daughter who was born in November last year.
To Straits Times, Vikram Shetty said: “Nothing prepares you to be a new parent, and a big aspect of the time away from work was to get in touch with my own emotions and feelings. Having a company ethos that understands the needs of new parents such as downtime, flexible work times, and the need to be present also has a positive effect on the well-being of my wife.”
Among the latest group of SwedCham members to have signed up to the pledge are technology firm Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and social learning platform Tigerhall.