Parliamentary reply by Minister Indranee Rajah on the number of first-time parents and support for them
FOURTEENTH PARLIAMENT OF SINGAPORE
TUESDAY, 2 FEBRUARY 2021
Ms Hany Soh:
To ask the Prime Minister (a) in the past five years, what is the number of first-time parents in Singapore; (b) how many of them became second-time parents thereafter; (c) what are the schemes available to help first-time parents; and (d) what is the take-up rate for such schemes.
Ms Indranee Rajah (for the Prime Minister): Between 2015 and 2019, annually an average of 15,234 and 11,548 mothers had their first and second child respectively. On average, married women have close to two children. This data is consistent with the findings of the National Population and Talent Division’s 2016 Marriage and Parenthood survey, in which 92% of married respondents indicated that they intend to have at least two children.
The Government is strongly committed to support Singaporeans who want to start or expand their families. The Marriage & Parenthood Package, which has been enhanced several times over the years, provides extensive support for families in areas such as:
a. Support for child-raising expenses. First- and second-born children qualify for a Baby Bonus Cash Gift of $8,000, and up to $6,000 in Government contributions in the Child Development Account. To encourage parents to have more children, higher birth order children receive more benefits.
b. Healthcare assistance. All newborns receive a $4,000 MediSave Grant, free childhood vaccinations (for vaccinations in the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule) and free developmental screenings at polyclinics and Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioner clinics.
c. Preschool subsidies. Working mothers receive basic childcare subsidies of $600/month for infant care and $300/month for full-day childcare. They also receive an additional means-tested subsidy of up to $710 for full-day infant care and $467 for full-day childcare, if their gross monthly household income is $12,000 and below. This helps to make quality preschool more affordable for parents.
d. Educational subsidies. The Government subsidises over 90% of the cost of education from Primary school to Junior College/ITE, about 85% for polytechnics, and about 75% for autonomous universities.
e. Parental and Childcare Leave. Mothers and fathers of Singaporean children are entitled to 16 weeks of paid Maternity Leave and two weeks of paid Paternity Leave respectively. Each working parent can also tap on six days of paid Childcare Leave per year if their youngest child is below seven years, and two days of paid Extended Childcare Leave per year if their youngest child is aged between seven and 12 years. This is in addition to other leave benefits such as Unpaid Infant Care Leave.
f. Work-life harmony support. The Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) and on Unpaid Leave for Unexpected Care Needs contain the workplace practices that all employers should implement to support their employees in managing their family and work responsibilities.
More details on the Marriage & Parenthood Package may be found at go.gov.sg/mpbooklet.
The take-up rates for most of the support schemes have been high. As at 7 December 2020, about 99% of eligible children from the 2015 to 2019 birth cohorts have enrolled for the Baby Bonus Scheme. The majority of parents also use their Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, and Childcare Leave.
We regularly review our support measures for parents in order to ensure a Singapore that is Made for Families.