The Singapore Government has announced that from May 1 2013, single unwed parents will be entitled to take infant care and childcare leave. Read on for more information on what the benefits entail.
Single and unwed parents have long been a forgotten group when benefits are concerned but in a long awaited move, Acting Minister of Social and Family Development, Chan Chun Sing announced that unwed single parents will get the same parental leave entitlements as their married, divorced and widowed counterparts.
Single, unwed parents entitled to childcare leave
What that entails is that starting on May 1, single parents are entitled to six days of paid childcare leave annually if their children are seven and below, and six days of unpaid infant care leave annually until their child turns two. This is on top of the two days of paid childcare leave a year that they are entitled to if their children are aged between seven to 12.
Support for families under duress
Acknowledging the strong calls for equal benefits for single, unwed parents, Mr Chan said, “We understand that many of these families need additional support, especially single mothers. But single mothers are not a uniform group. There are unwed single mothers, divorced single mothers, and widowed single mothers. I appreciate the appeals by Mr Seah Kian Peng, Mr Janil Puthucheary, Ms Janice Koh, Ms Mary Liew, Ms Lee Li Lian, on behalf of single parents. MND recently announced measures to support divorced and widowed single parents.”
Move towards liberal family unit?
Sociologists that TODAY newspaper spoke to have said that this move was not so much about a more liberal view at family structure but a shift in focus towards child welfare and “to enable and empower any parent to take good care of the child.”
Nanyang Technological University sociologist Teo You Yenn described the measures as “long overdue.” He further noted that a “common claim to justify discrimination is that removing discrimination will encourage ‘lifestyle’ choices of single parenthood”. He dismisses this as “highly implausible [as] A great deal of effort, money and personal sacrifice is required for raising a child in contemporary Singapore; [and] we know that raising children as single parents is tremendously difficult.”
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