Mr Chua Kheng Wee Louis asked the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) what is the take-up rate of volunteer leave by public service employees; (b) whether the Ministry has any data on the number of private sector companies that offer volunteer leave to their staff and the take-up rate for such companies; and (c) if so, what are they respectively.
Mr Edwin Tong Chun Fai: As part of the national SG Cares movement, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) has been working closely with the Public Service Division (PSD) to champion staff volunteerism in all public sector agencies. Civil servants can utilise one day of volunteer leave to volunteer in any local charity with an Institution of Public Character status. This is an additional provision over and above their vacation leave. The yearly average take-up for volunteer leave by civil servants prior to COVID-19 was in the hundreds, although this figure has reduced during the COVID-19 period. However, the extent of volunteerism among officers go beyond this as officers have been volunteering through activities organised by their agencies under the Public Service Cares initiative (PS Cares).
PS Cares provides officers the platform to engage and serve the community without the need for them to take leave. For example, in 2020 and 2021, about 4,350 officers volunteered in COVID-19 operation roles, including going door-to-door to help seniors register for vaccinations and supporting the mobile vaccination teams.
The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) promotes volunteerism in the corporate sector. As part of the Company of Good (COG) programme developed by NVPC, COG members are encouraged to put in place policies such as paid volunteer leave to promote corporate giving.
From the Corporate Giving Study 2021 conducted by NVPC, approximately 29% of the 1,014 companies surveyed had paid volunteer leave provisions for staff 1. For companies reported to have paid volunteer leave provisions, an average of 42% of the company’s employees utilised volunteer leave. NVPC will be releasing the findings from the study in March 2022.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
14 February 2022