200 new childcare centres to ease load on working mothers

Parents will have 200 new childcare centres to choose from by the year 2018, according to Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Halimah Yacob.

Announced earlier this month, the move aims to boost local manpower by encouraging more women to re-enter the workforce after having children, instead of staying home to be fulltime housewives.

Meeting the demands of working parents

“Childcare is a very important facet of work-life balance, and women cannot go back to work if there are no proper care giving facilities for their children,” said Mdm Halimah at an International Women’s Day event held by MCYS.

Each centre will be able to take in between 70 to 200 children and the centres will be set up in Housing Board estates where many young parents reside, like Woodlands and Bukit Panjang.

MCYS has been working hard to meet the growing demands of working parents in Singapore. The government body had previously promised to build 200 childcare centres by 2013 but since it has reached its target, it has decided to plan for another round of 200 centres to be built by 2018.

Mothers speak up

“I’m very pleased with the growing number of childcare centres as it offers parents more options when it comes to the welfare of their children,” says Mrs Uma, mother of one, who is currently on maternity leave. “I would rather leave my daughter at a childcare centre with other kids of her age, than alone at home with a maid. I can only hope that the childcare fees are affordable enough for my family when it comes time for me to go back to work fulltime,” she continued.

“Any initiative that has been put in place to help working parents is a great idea,” says Mrs Wijaya, mother of two. “It’s great that the government is looking out for women who want to strike a good balance between work and family life, especially since we have a low birth rate. Readily available childcare is a double-edged sword because it will encourage women to have children and also give them peace of mind to return to work,” she says.

However, some feel that more can be done to help working mothers balance their careers and family life. “While the addition of childcare centres is a good move, I feel that the government can still do more to help mothers, like providing further subsidies for childcare centres and more childcare leave for both parents,” said mother of two Mrs Rahman.

How do you feel about the government’s initiatives to help mothers with their work-life balance?  Do you think more can be done to encourage women to return to work after childbirth?

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