To encourage Singaporeans to forge stronger bonds with their families, employers were encouraged to allow employees to leave work at 5pm on 19 November 2021, Friday, to have a meal with their families. In a special edition of Eat With Your Family Day, about 100 families enjoyed a Made For Families evening of fun and prizes. Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, will be engaging the participating families on Zoom to find out what “Made For Families” means to them.
The “Eat With Your Family Day is Made For Families” virtual event marked the last Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD) of the year. This virtual event was organised by Centre for Fathering, MUMs for Life and DADs for Life, in partnership with Families for Life, in support of Made For Families. Minister Indranee said: “Eat With Your Family Day is an important reminder to make time for our families. While many of us have been working from home, a lot of that time is spent on virtual meetings or emails. We should make a concerted effort to disconnect from work at regular intervals and enjoy precious moments with our loved ones. I am happy to know that there are more than 600 companies that are supportive of such family-friendly initiatives today. Family-centric companies are much more likely to have a happier and more productive workforce, find it easier to recruit and retain and have a positive work culture. Let’s all join in to build a Singapore that’s Made for Families.”
Mr Bryan Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Fathering, said: “During this COVID season when many individuals are working from home, employees often grapple with the blurred boundaries of work and life, at times working beyond normal working hours. Eat With Your Family Day reminds parents to put aside their work and devices, and connect with their children during meals. To date, over 6001 organisations are committed to Eat With Your Family Day by encouraging their employees to stop work at 5pm once every quarter to bond with their families over dinner.”
Sharon Ng, HR Director of Michelman Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, said: “A family that eats together, stays together. The Eat With Your Family Day initiative, which our company joined in 2017, is one of the family-friendly initiatives that has helped improve our employees’ work-life harmony and morale, resulting in happier and healthier employees which aids productivity.”
During the event, participants enjoyed fun and interactive games to discover more about family-friendly organisations, places, and public amenities, and won prizes as well. Each participating family on Zoom also received $50 worth of foodpanda credits, which can be used to purchase any items on the foodpanda platform, or to order a hearty meal to dine at home with their family. The virtual event was streamed on the Made For Families Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MadeForFamiliesSg.
Made for Families partners
foodpanda and Centre for Fathering are one of the many partners who have adopted the Made For Families brand mark. This signifies their commitment towards building a family-friendly Singapore, through initiatives, programmes, amenities, products, and services that support families and raising children.
Since the launch of the Made for Families brand mark in June 2020, around 80 businesses, organisations and community groups have adopted it. They come from various sectors, ranging from hospitality, leisure, food and beverage, retail and e-commerce, to government agencies and community groups. This initiative by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) in the Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office, aims to assure families of the support offered by the Government and community at large.
EWYFD was launched in 2003 by the Centre for Fathering to encourage organisations to arrange for employees to leave work at 5pm so that they can eat with their families. The initiative also aims to remind parents to put aside time to eat with their children regularly.
Held on the last Friday of each school term, the dates for EWYFD 2021 are 12 March, 28 May, 3 September and 19 November. EWYFD is a joint effort by Centre for Fathering, MUMS for Life and DADs for Life, in partnership with Families for Life and in support of the Made For Families initiative. For more information, visit fathers.com.sg/ewyfd.
Michelman Asia Pacific Pte Ltd: Sharon Ng, HR Director
Michelman Asia Pacific Pte Ltd is a developer and manufacturer of environmentally advanced materials for industries. In 2017, the company came on board the Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD) initiative to increase work-life harmony and encourage colleagues to have quality bonding time with their families. Sharon shared that family-friendly initiatives like EWYFD have helped to improve employees’ well-being and morale. It has also motivated them to produce better results at work by going the extra mile for their customers. In addition, retention rates have increased and reduced the need to hire and train new employees. The company’s referral program for new hires has improved as well.
Michelman Asia Pacific also implements other family-friendly practices. Some examples include flexible work arrangements to allow employees to attend to their family needs, family care leave for employees who juggle with work and caregiving responsibilities, and more. The company also sends congratulatory gifts to employees to celebrate the birth of their newborn.
To Sharon, “a family that eats together, stays together. Hence, she was looking forward to spending quality time with her family and parents over a good meal during the EWYFD virtual event on 19 November.
Kim Choo Kueh Chang Pte Ltd: Edmond Wong, Director, Business Development & Corporate Social Responsibility
Edmond is a father of three young children, and ensures that he carves out time to eat with his family and cook for them as well. The Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD) initiative, which Edmond has been attending since 2018, is a reminder to him and his staff to try to end work on time, and avoid staying back for work.
Edmond believes that family-friendly initiatives like EWYFD can allow him and his staff to spend time with their families, and remain productive at work. He also feels that EWYFD is an encouragement and reminder that a family-friendly working environment needs to be cultivated.
The team at Kim Choo Kueh Chang is small, close-knit and like a family. The company, which is famous for their handmade nyonya rice dumplings, also nurtures an inclusive workplace and currently hires five individuals with disabilities. Edmond ensures that these individuals are offered flexible work arrangements by not restricting their working hours. This allows them to attend their medical appointments with peace of mind, or spend more time to bond with their families. Sometimes, Edmond’s mother will take the effort to cook a hearty meal for Kim Choo Kueh Chang’s employees too. During Chinese New Year and the Dragonboat festival, the company will give its staff Chinese New Year cookies and rice dumplings to enjoy together as a family.
Kemin Industries (Asia) Pte Ltd: Pulparayil Skaria Chacko, Senior Finance Manager
Kemin Industries (Asia) Pte Ltd manufactures over 500 specialty ingredients for humans and animals in the global feed and food industries, as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. The company is family-centric, and adopts family-friendly initiatives like Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD), family care leave for employees to care for family members who are unwell, and flexible working hours to support employees in balancing their personal needs and work obligations.
To Pulparayil Skaria Chacko, Eat With Your Family Day (EWYFD) is important as it raises awareness on the importance of spending quality time with our families. He took part in EWYFD for the first time on 19 November with his wife and teenage son and daughter, and looked forward to ending work at 5pm to bond with them over a hearty meal.
Chacko also appreciates that his company offers family-friendly initiatives like flexible working hours, which gives him the opportunity to bring his children to school in the morning and bond with them before he starts work. Chacko is keen to hear how other families have benefitted from family-friendly workplace initiatives during the EWYFD event, and how we can all play a part in supporting and families in Singapore.