【社评双语道】良好生育福利可提高员工工作效率

2018-03-20 06:49:46  阅读 71 次 评论 0 条
■改善生育福利虽会增加企业成本,但可提高员工工作效率。 作者供图
■改善生育福利虽会增加企业成本,但可提高员工工作效率。 作者供图

  【原文】香港作为经济发达富裕地区,在职妇女的生育福利、待遇却远远落后于全球主要国家和地区。落实全薪产假、延长产假、改善待遇,有鼓励生育、纾缓人口老化等多重作用,更可提升员工士气、刺激经济。

  纵观全球发达国家和地区,均延长产假以应对人口老化加剧问题。香港特区政府早已呼吁市民多生育,但鼓励生育政策多年未见配合优化。现时本港在职妇女根据法例享有「前四后六」共10周产假,期间支取80%薪金,男士们则由2015年起有3天侍产假,同样支薪80%。

  相比之下,很多国家和地区,如法国、德国、韩国、新加坡、内地等等,在职妇女均享有全薪产假,大部分的产假日数较本港多,内地产假最少的省份亦有128天,英国则可长达1年。但是,本港自1995年将产假薪酬比例由三分之二上调至五分之四后,过去22年来再无修订,明显落后于人。延长产假、提升生育福利是大势所趋。

  本港人口老化加剧,对经济社会发展构成巨大压力,鼓励生育正是纾缓人口老化、提升竞争力的不二途径。影响生育意慾的原因众多,诸如工作压力大、收入两极化、楼价高企等等都是制约因素,而这些因素很难一时三刻可改变。

  相对而言,修改法例延长产假、提升生育福利待遇,则能在短期内达至,发挥鼓励生育的效果,值得政府和商界多作努力和承担,加大力度推行。

  延长产假和全额支薪,表面看增加了企业成本,但必须看到,良好的生育福利体现企业对员工的关怀,增强员工对企业的归属感,有利提升工作效率,为公司创造更大价值,更重要的是为香港未来发展提供人力资源。本港不少大型企业已主动提供比政府规定更长的产假,藉此增加对优秀人才的吸引力,树立良好的企业文化和企业形象。政府可以研究为延长产假的企业提供适当补贴,减轻中小企业的压力。 (标题为编辑所加) (摘录自香港文汇报社评8-3-2018)

  Family-friendly policy can enhance employees' efficiency

  【译文】Hong Kong is among the most developed economies in the world, yet maternity welfare and protection in the city is lagging far behind her global counterparts. The implementation of fully paid and extended maternity leave, along with other improvements, could encourage childbearing and thereby relieve the pressure of an ageing population. Likewise, the enhanced benefits could provide a boost to employee morale and thus provide stimulus to the economy.

  In the various attempts to cope with rapidly ageing populations, first world governments around the globe have unanimously resorted to expanding maternity leave. The Hong Kong government has long encouraged parenthood in the society, however the corresponding policies have not been optimised and a concerted effort is clearly lacking. Working women in Hong Kong are currently entitled to a statutory 10-week maternity leave which is paid at 80 per cent of their salary, and can start up to four weeks before the expected delivery date. On the other hand, men are entitled to 3 days of paternity leave at 80 per cent of normal pay since 2015.

  In vivid contrast to Hong Kong, working women in countries such as France, Germany, South Korea, Singapore and China all enjoy fully paid maternity leaves, most of which are also longer in duration. For instance, the province that has the shortest maternity leave in China still boast 128 days of leave, while in the UK it could span as long as a whole year.

  Statutory maternity leave pay in Hong Kong was last raised from two thirds of normal salary to 80 per cent in 1995, and has not been reviewed again for the past 22 years. Expanding maternity leave and boosting parenthood welfare are going to be inevitable.

  Faced with an increasingly aged population and its consequential socio-economic impact, pro-natalist policies are the local government's best instrument to both alleviate the said problems and enhance competitiveness. There are many factors that affect desire for childbearing, such as high pressure from work, income polarisation, and unaffordable home prices. It is very unlikely that these factors can be changed in the short term.

  Maternity leave extension, on the contrary, could achieve results relatively quickly. The government and the private sector should step up their efforts in its implementation.

  Expanded and fully paid maternity leave might seem to be an extra cost for businesses at first glance. However, one must also understand that a family-friendly policy could show how the company care for its employees, thus enhancing their sense of belonging, efficiency and productivity. More importantly is that, in the long run, better parental leave policies could help provide human resources to Hong Kong's development in the future.

  In an attempt to attract better candidates in the labour market and build up a better corporate image, many large enterprises in Hong Kong have already rolled out maternity leave policies that are more generous when compared with the statutory requirements.

  The government could explore the possibilities of subsidising companies that agree to expand parental leave benefits, so as to ease the burden on small and medium-sized enterprises.■Jeffrey Tse [ywc_jeffrey@hotmail.com]

  Exercise

  1.生育率

  2.人口老化

  3.侍产假

  4.法定

  5.企业社会责任

  Answers

  1. fertility rate

  2. population ageing

  3. paternity leave

  4. statutory

  5. corporate social responsibility

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