4 things unwed mothers in Singapore are still missing out on

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This article was originally on GET.com at: 4 Things Unwed Mothers In Singapore Are Still Missing Out On

It has recently been announced that unwed mothers will soon be entitled to the same 16-week maternity leave that married mothers here in Singapore enjoy, double that of the 8-week paid maternity leave that unwed mothers currently enjoy.

Slated to kick in by September 2016, their children will also receive a Child Development Account (CDA) - a savings account that will come in handy when it comes to paying for their childcare and healthcare needs where the Singapore government matches deposits that parents make by up to $6000 for their first and second child. The CDA is currently not available for children born to unwed mothers.

Just last month, the government said it would deposit $3000 into the accounts of children born from March 24 2016, even before parents who are married or unwed make a deposit. I can only imagine how much more helpful that would be for parents, and especially for those who make less money and have less to chip into the CDA.

These measures that seek to lessen discrimination against children born to unwed mothers are of course good and meaningful in nature as they give additional support for these children and help their mothers have an easier life.

Here at GET.com, we list the 4 things unwed mothers in Singapore will still be missing out on despite the jolly news revolving around changes to maternity leave entitlement and the CDA.

4 Things Unwed Mothers In Singapore Are Still Missing Out

1. Baby Bonus Cash Gift

Unwed mothers will still not receive baby bonus cash gift of up to $8000 unlike their married counterparts for their first and second child. This money would have come in handy to alleviate unwed mothers' financial burden by quite a bit.

Image source: Ministry of Social and Family Development

For more information on the Baby Bonus scheme, click here.

2. Parenthood Tax Rebate

Income earners who make enough money are supposed to file and pay income taxes whether one is married or not. One caveat of the well-meaning Parenthood Tax Rebate is the fact that unwed mothers do not qualify for it though they are technically playing the roles of parents to their little one(s).

According to the IRAS, parents who are married, divorced or widowed can claim tax rebates of up to $20,000 per kid.

3. Eligibility To Buy An HDB Flat

But of course, housing is and always will be an issue for unwed mothers, unless something miraculous happens in lieu of their plight of not being regarded as a legitimate family nucleus as yet. Rental units can be costly and that will inevitably weigh down on their finances even more.

Unwed mothers who are below the age of 35 will have to till they turn 35 before they are eligible to buy an HDB flat under the Single Singapore Citizen Scheme.

4. Acceptance

What else can I say besides throwing out the words "prejudice" and "social stigma"? The majority of conservative Asians, Singaporeans included, discriminate against women who have children out of wedlock whether they genuinely mean to, or not.

Of course, that's not to say that I'm undermining the traditional family unit that happens to be the social norm that we have come to accept for what it is. But unwed mothers who choose to keep their babies in spite of the conscious knowledge that everything is going to be an uphill battle for them are only human just like you and I. And surely they deserve more support and faith than what they're getting now from the state, their co-workers, their friends, and even their own family.

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