Before I come to what are the singles' main grouses, here are the goody goodies announced to the already married.
1 week Government-paid paternity leave now part of parenthood package
Fathers with a child born on or after May 1 this year will be entitled to one week of government-paid paternity leave, to be taken within 16 weeks from the birth of their child. -- PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Fathers with a child born on or after May 1 this year will be entitled to one week of government-paid paternity leave, to be taken within 16 weeks from the birth of their child.
In addition, mothers can share with fathers one week of their government-paid maternity leave.
The widely-expected move was announced on Monday as part of its enhanced Marriage and Parenthood package. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the aim was to send a signal to fathers to play a bigger role in bringing up their children.
Several other measures were also announced:
- Four weeks of adoption leave, for mothers who have adopted a Singaporean infant below 12 months old, will be made mandatory.
- Parents of children aged between seven and 12 years old will be entitled to two days of childcare leave per parent, per year. Currently, only parents with kids aged below seven years old have paid childcare leave of 6 days per parent per year.
- Maternity protection will now be extended for expecting mothers for the whole duration of their pregnancy. That is, if an employer dismisses an expectant mother without sufficient cause at any point in her pregnancy, it must now pay her maternity benefits.
- Expectant mothers who are contract or freelance workers - and are therefore not eligible for paid maternity leave - can now claim a cash benefit substitute as long as they have worked for at least 90 days in the preceding one year.
All the measures kick in on May 1 this year, but the Government is encouraging employers to start offering all the new leave schemes to their workers on a voluntary basis from January 2013.
The Civil Service has taken the lead to do so.
Yep, the ST, which is a lappy-dog of PAP, even has a graphic explanation in its Facebook account. See below.
Pic taken from ST Facebook.
Singles who wish to get married are left out -
Well and good that the baby bonus is out. But that's if you are already married and plan to have babies, or more babies. What about the singles who wish to get married? It looks like the govt is not addressing their issues. And what are their issues? Here they are:
Most singles want to get married, have two or more children: study
Most singles desire to get married and most wish to have two or more children, according to key findings of a Marriage and Parenthood study commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division.Click this link to read the full republished article.
The study involved more than 4,600 people, aged between 21 and 45 years old.
It aims to understand the attitudes and motivations behind Singapore residents' marriage and parenthood trends.
83 per cent of single respondents indicated that they desired to get married, little changed from the 85 per cent in the last study done in 2007.
Respondents said they were not married because they had not met a suitable partner, they wanted to concentrate on their careers or studies, and they did not have enough money.
For those in serious relationships, they said they were not marrying yet because they wanted to save money for housing and the wedding, and that they were too young to get married.
The study found that parenthood aspirations remained strong.
Both male and female respondents intend to have an average of 2.2 children.
Those who are unlikely to have any more children cited practical concerns like financial cost and good child care arrangements.
The Marriage & Parenthood Package was last enhanced in 2008 to strengthen the pro-family environment and support Singaporeans' aspirations to get married and have children.
However, 65 per cent were exhausted when they came home from work, 42 per cent had insufficient time to date, and 50 per cent had insufficient time to meet new people.
Among married respondents, 82 per cent reported good work-life balance.
However, 62 per cent of them were exhausted when they came home from work, and 54 per cent felt their job prevented them from spending as much time with their families as they would like.
Note that the concern of singles, which are about lack of time to socialize due to work, housing, costs and future worries pertaining to childcare are not addressed.
My comment and conclusion -
The baby bonus had to come anyway. That's because the govt knows that we are short of babies and our reproduction rate is way below what it should be. This announcement is timed to sweeten the ground just before the Punggol East by election. But in reality, it doesn't address the whole picture. The singles' needs and concerns are still not addressed.