With regard to the article, "Want more babies? Then help parents be parents" (my paper, March 2), the Government might consider these suggestions to improve Singapore's fertility rate:
- Maternity and paternity leave of up to one year should be granted.
- No-pay leave of up to two years should be available to female employees.
This will enable them to return to their workplace at the same position, saving them the stress of finding jobs or losing seniority at the workplace.
- Mothers should be able to work flexible hours so that they can adjust their working hours around their spouse's working hours, allowing infants to be placed at day-care centres for a minimum period and reducing the financial burden incurred for day-care services.
- Cash incentives could be given for each child delivered within a certain time frame, say, on or before December 2015.
- Free travel on public transport for school-going children up to primary-school level.
- A large family allowance could be given to families with more than three children, as is the practice in countries like Australia.
- Bigger subsidies for the levy on foreign domestic workers until a child turns three.
- A quota of Housing Board flats should be reserved for couples with three or more children.
- Lastly, feedback should be sought from female employees and women's organisations on what facilities and concessions the Government should consider with regard to this sensitive but vital issue.
Ms Jayavantsinh Zala (myp reader)
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