Parenthood Package benefits all26 Aug 2006
I refer to Mr David Tan Tze Tiong's letter "Benefits must be relevant" (Aug 21) suggesting that the Government provide alternative parenthood benefits for families who do not benefit from tax reliefs or rebates.
The Parenthood Package of measures and incentives hopes to reach out to as many Singaporean families as possible, regardless of their tax paying status. The Parenthood Tax Rebate and Working Mother's Child Relief mentioned by Mr Tan were designed to help reduce the tax burden of families that do pay income tax.
All Singaporean families, including those who do not pay income tax, will still benefit from the Parenthood Package schemes, such as the Baby Bonus, infant care and childcare subsidies, and the Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession. In addition, they enjoy heavily subsidised education and healthcare.
Since October 2004, working parents can enjoy two days of statutory childcare leave per parent, while statutory maternity leave for working mothers has been extended to 12 weeks, with the extended four weeks being funded by the Government.
To make childbirth more affordable, the Medisave Maternity Package (MMP) was introduced in August 2004. Parents can claim Medisave under the MMP for their first four living children (and for the fifth and subsequent children, if parents have a combined Medisave balance of at least $15,000).
Typically, for a caesarean delivery requiring a four-day stay, parents can withdraw up to $3,450 of Medisave for delivery and pre-delivery expenses. This is sufficient to cover fully the expenses incurred at a Class B2 or C ward of a restructured hospital.
We thank Mr Tan for his feedback and wish to assure him that the Government remains committed to providing a conducive environment that supports Singaporeans in raising their families.
TAN LI SAN
DIRECTOR (SOCIAL PROGRAMMES)
MINISTRY OF FINANCE