Just last month alone, there were six major disruption of train services, which have brought inconveniences to commuters. While many organizations will excuse the employees for being late due to disruption of train service, working parents may still be fined by child care centres for fetching their children late.
In a post on the Facebook group “Childcare in Singapore”, a user by the name of “Alina Wong” has raised the concern of parents being unable to fetch their children from child care centres in time due to the frequent train delays. Many parents have responded and emphasized with her as they have been experiencing the same problem. As almost all child care centres have operational hours that end at 7pm from Monday to Friday, the child care centres may fine parents if they fail to fetch their children before 7pm.
To avoid being fined by the child care centre and to prevent the child from waiting, many parents have to take a taxi to the child care centre. One parent mentions that she had called SMRT for taxi fare compensation due to the train breakdown but her request was turned down.
In addition, asking their neighbours or relatives to help to fetch their children from the child care centre is troublesome as parents will need to submit a copy of identification or photo of the person to the child care centre or else the centre will not release the children. Besides, not every couple has helpful neighbours or available relatives to help them fetch their children.
Regarding the fine, while parents commented they understand that it is the practice of the child care centre, some also felt it was unfair for them to pay the penalty when the fault was not on them.
Some parents think that overall, it is important for both the child care centre and the parents to be understanding towards each other in this unfortunate circumstance. Childcare centres should recognise that it is not the fault of the parents that they are late, but it is also not of any obligation for them to waive the fine.
Parents should in turn understand that child care centres have their own SOP to follow and the knock off time for childcare teachers is 7pm. These teachers too have their own plans after that and should be compensated for staying longer so as to be fair to them.
As such, for the benefit of everyone, Facebook users by the names of “Flowersun Ng” and “Sharina Samsi” felt that it is important for parents to have a backup plan for train delays, when their business meeting end late or their child has fever. This is to prevent letting tired teachers who have already finished work wait. Hence, parents can make sure that their child is in a child care that is most convenient for them to access in case of emergency, which is one that is near their workplace. If not, alternative routes to get to the child care centre in case of train faults should be explored.
Alternatively, during this temporary period of train faults, parents can adjust their working hours with their bosses if their workplace allow for such arrangements.
Besides, another Facebook user “Lynn Safik” states that it is only courteous for parents to call up the centre if they are going to be late so as to prepare the teachers mentally. This can reduce the conflict and ensure that both sides can maintain an amicable and respectful relationship with each other in the situation.
Parents should note that SMRT had warned of possible delays in the coming weeks as it is testing the new signalling system. As such, parents will need to make alternative arrangements during this period so as to be able to fetch their children on time.