A rather disturbing opinion piece on the Straits Times forum about benefits for pregnant women by Mr Yeh Siang Hui. It is just one person's opinion, but I wonder how prevalent this view is amongst employers.
"Maternity leave not a perk"
Here are some quotes (pretty sure it is not taken out of context):
The rationale is simple. The measure of reward and recognition an employee receives is commensurate with the level of her contribution. An employee who chooses to become pregnant and take maternity leave chooses to compromise her level of accountability to her employer.
A pregnant worker surely cannot expect her employer or colleagues to regard her pregnancy with the same joy and excitement as her family or friends - as, after all, a pregnancy in the workplace is nothing but bad news.
In respect of colleagues, their workload will increase (not necessarily with any assurance of extra reward). In respect of the employer, the pregnant worker not only does not contribute to the company during her maternity leave, but she actually causes loss to the company as she continues to draw pay for zero productivity during that period.
It is therefore perfectly understandable - and human - for an employer or a colleague to exhibit signs of dissatisfaction.
Mr Yeh is not wrong, of course. However, I wonder if his rationality is a symptom of our "souls" getting sucked out of us, leaving us as rational emotionless beings. The US, despite being demonized as "corporate", has a culture that is in general far more human-oriented. Not only will most reputable employers happily grant maternity leave, they congratulate their employees, share in their joy, actually spend the time to visit the family and take time at some meetings to enjoy baby pictures with the rest of the employees.
Humans are social creatures, it should be natural for us to share in the joys of other humans. In the case of employment, the people involved are not even total strangers ... even then, in many cases, I do not understand why one cannot share in the joy of a stranger. In general American culture has not lost this sense of social togetherness (there are exceptions, of course), however I wonder if Singapore culture is going to lose it.