Families First: PM Lee announces 4 measures to promote parenthood
It's very good news in general for Singaporean parents. Find out what these family-friendly measures are and how you too will benefit from them...
Singapore Government’s focus on families rang clear in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech on Sunday, August 25.
Speaking about the important role that families play in the process of nation building, Mr Lee unveiled initiatives aimed at raising Singapore's birthrates and promoting familial bonds.
The good news for young families and parents-to-be includes the following four measures:
1. Enhanced Baby Bonus
To help families offset the cost of bringing up children, the government will not only increase the amount of Baby Bonus Scheme, but the scheme will also include all children, not just the first four.
With additional help in place, this is promising for all families, particularly larger families. The previous boost in 2013 saw cash gifts for the first and second child raised from $4,000 to $6,000, and from $6,000 to $8,000 for the third and fourth.
The enhanced Baby Bonus plan will now include all babies born from 1 Jan 2015, regardless of the number of children in the family:
- $8,000 for 1st and 2nd child
- $10,000 for the 3rd child onwards
2. Increased Medisave Grant for newborns
This particular measure said Mr Lee, was to give parents "greater peace of mind". The increased grant will be enough to cover MediShield Life premiums for the child until he or she is 21 years old, and help with other healthcare expenses such as recommended vaccinations.
3. Increased Paternity Leave
Giving fathers the chance to get more involved in the bringing up of their children, Mr Lee announced that the Government will pay for one more week of leave for fathers - making it a total of two.
The Scheme will be implemented initially on a voluntary basis in order to give employers and companies time to adjust. He made it clear that the public service will take the lead in rolling out this initiative.
4. Proximity Housing Grant
This will help parents and married children live near each other and will apply in the purchase of a resale flat. Every Singaporean household will be eligible, whether first-time buyer or not. The exact details of this will be announced at a later date.
The best news of course is that the baby bonus, Medisave, and paternity leave will apply retrospectively with effect from January 1 this year -- a hongbao, according to the PM -- to include all the Jubilee babies born in the year of SG50.
The PM also said that he has been "heartened" to see the increased birth rate. Almost 20,000 SG50 Jubilee Baby gifts -- including one for MacPherson MP Tin Pei Ling, who gave birth to a boy on August 5 -- have been given out so far.
In essence, this is how the new Jubilee Marriage & Parenthood Package looks like:
theAsianparent applauds the Government on these measures announced by the government to boost Singapore's birth rate and to support and encourage parenthood and family bonds.
What are your views on the initiatives announced by PM Lee in his NDR 2015 Speech, leave a comment below.