Thursday, 28 May 2015

[Straits Times] Longer free-parking hours can boost family bonding

IT IS good that family time and family ties remain a priority for many Singaporeans ("Family ties - good; family time - not so good"; yesterday).
Nevertheless, much more needs to be done, as our infrastructure to support work-family life balance is far from ideal.
We have been working hard on the "hard" policies, with improved marriage and parenthood packages, as well as Housing Board flats suitable for multi-generational living. However, we still lack the "soft" policies that address issues such as facilitating quality time and closer bonds.
The last major policy that addressed these "soft" issues was the introduction of the five-day work week for the civil service in 2004.
This has helped to create an environment that facilitates family life for many, and anecdotally, it is now common to hear people refer to the civil service as the most supportive employer, should they intend to raise a family.
The Government could look into enacting more policies that promote family bonding.
For example, the free-parking policy is an area that can be improved on. While the Housing Board (HDB) does have a Family Season Parking Ticket scheme, it remains inadequate, due to impracticality and a lack of awareness for many.
Parking can subtly influence decisions made to visit relatives and family members that, in turn, impact the bonds built.
Hence, the HDB and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) should refine the Sunday free-parking policy, and apply it from Saturday afternoon onwards, to allow more time for people to visit their relatives.
The Government should look at more "soft" policies, such as parking, in order to move towards a more family-friendly Singapore.
Hazique Salahudin