SingaporeMotherhood | Pregnancy
Parent Aid: Benefits and Subsidies for Parents in Singapore
Bringing up children in Singapore is too expensive, many people say. Indeed, the first few years of a child’s life are often the most costly for parents. In addition to costs incurred during pregnancy and delivery, there are child care and education expenses to consider. Preschool education in Singapore is not subsidised, unlike Primary school education.
In February 2013, the former CEO of a financial advisory firm estimated that it would cost a whopping $900,000 to raise a child in Singapore.
In his article, which was published in the local broadsheet, he gauged that it would take $600,000 in real dollars to raise a child in a one-child family, and $500,000 for a two-child family. The lower cost for two children, he explained, was due to economies of scale.
What does this mean to you, if you are pregnant and expecting your child soon?
First, hold off the panic stations. It’s not that bad. The writer of the article had assumed that each child would have tuition costing $1,000 a month for 11 years – that’s $132,000 altogether. The final amount also includes the estimated costs of four-year education at a local university. Without these two, costs would be considerably reduced. (Please note that we are not encouraging your children not to have tertiary education. This is simply to state where the bulk of costs come from).
Furthermore, if you are a Singapore citizen, you are eligible for government help to ease the financial demands of parenthood.
The Baby Bonus scheme, for instance, gives citizen children cash and matches parental top-ups (up to $18,000 for the fifth child) in the child’s CDA (Child Development Account).
A recommendation to include an insurance scheme for serious congenital conditions to the Baby Bonus scheme was proposed and has been accepted. From 1 March 2013, MediShield will be extended to cover newly diagnosed congenital and neonatal conditions.
And on top of this, from 1 January 2017, fathers can now enjoy two weeks of government-stipulated paternity leave. Full details on the enhanced Marriage and Parenthood Package can be found here.
In the meantime, here’s a quick-look list of what else is available to ease a parents’ pockets:
Subsidies for Assisted Conception Treatments
If you are below 40 years of age, with one or no child and you are trying to conceive, you can get up to 75 per cent of subsidies for Assisted Conception Treatments. These include Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) treatments, including in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT).
Since the subsidy began in 2008, “more than 5,000 ART cycles have been subsidised, benefiting over 3,800 couples”, Channel News Asia has reported.
You can also use your Medisave account to offset a part of the costs three times – $6,000 for the first attempt, $5,000 for the second, and $4,000 for the third one.
During Pregnancy & Delivery
Medisave Maternity Package (MMP)
With the MMP, parents are allowed to use Medisave to offset delivery expenses as well as pre-delivery medical expenses such as consultations and ultrasound.
You can claim up to $450 of pre-delivery expenses under this package. This can be done at both public and private hospitals. Remember to keep the invoices from your obstetrician visits, and present them to the hospital when you give birth.
After Baby is Born
All Singapore Citizen children get a cash gift – the famed Baby Bonus – from the government. The first and second children each receive $4,000, while the third and fourth children each get $6,000.
If your children were born on or after 17 August 2008, they can also enjoy government contributions in the form of a dollar-for-dollar matching for the amount of savings you contribute to your child’s CDA. The savings are matched up to the cap of $6,000 each for the first and second children, $12,000 each for the third and fourth children and $18,000 each for the fifth and subsequent children. The account can be used to pay for medical and education-related expenses.
Child and Infant Care
If you have an infant aged between two and 18 months old, or a child between 18 months and seven years old attending a preschool-cum-child care centre, you are entitled to the Infant and Child Care Subsidy.
Under the new subsidy framework announced on 23 January 2013, all parents with Singapore Citizen children enrolled in child care centres licensed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development will continue to be eligible for a Basic Subsidy of $300. In addition, families with monthly household incomes of $7,500 and below are now eligible for an Additional Subsidy, with lower income families receiving more.
Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR)
Working mothers are also eligible for tax reliefs at 15 per cent of your earned income for your first child, 20 per cent for the second, and 25 per cent per child for all subsequent children, with a maximum cap at 100 per cent of your earned income.
Time-off From Work
Aside from the company-paid annual leave and sick leave entitlements, parents in Singapore can now enjoy more leave days as steps are taken towards more balanced work-life harmony.
Government-Paid Maternity Leave
If you are a mother of a citizen child you are entitled to leave four weeks immediately before and 12 weeks immediately after delivery, up to a total of 16 weeks. You may arrange with your employer to take a part of this leave flexibly over a 12-month period.
Parents have a total of six days of child care leave. The first three days are employer-paid and the last three days, Government-paid. Regardless of the number of children you have, the total child care leave you are entitled to is capped at six days per year until the year the child turns seven years old. The number of days of childcare leave that you can benefit from will add up to a total of 42 days over a seven-year period.
Unpaid Infantcare Leave
A full-time employee and parent of a citizen child is also entitled to six days of unpaid infant care leave per year. If you are on a fixed-term contract, temporary or part-time employee, you may be entitled to unpaid infant care leave if you have worked at the company for at least three months.
Find out more about what you as a parent are entitled to in Singapore. View the latest enhancements of the Marriage and Parenthood Package 2013 here.
All content from this article, including images, cannot be reproduced without credits or written permission from SingaporeMotherhood.