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Singapore Raises Subsidies for Childcare
Source: xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Singapore
Created: Jan 29, 2013

SINGAPORE, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Singapore government announced on Wednesday that it is giving more subsidies to lower and middle- income families for child and infant care services.

Under the new framework, which will take effect on April 1, families with a gross monthly income of 7,500 Singapore dollars (6, 148 U.S. dollars) and below will receive an addition subsidy ranging from 100 Singapore dollars to 540 Singapore dollars for each of the children.

All parents will continue to receive the current basic subsidy of 300 Singapore dollars a month for childcare or 600 Singapore dollars for infant care services, respectively.

Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing announced the new framework on Wednesday, saying that up to two thirds of the households in Singapore will benefit from the new framework.

It also puts Singapore "comfortably" in the top half of OECD ( Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, in terms of affordability of pre-school services.

The subsidies will cover a large part of the costs, as the median cost of a full-day childcare program in a public housing estate is about 615 Singapore dollars.

The new subsidy framework will increase the cost for the government by 105 million Singapore dollars and bring the total government spending in this area to about 360 million Singapore dollars.

Singapore's total fertility rate rebounded slightly from a record low of 1.16 in 2010 to about 1.2 in 2011. The very low fertility rate, foreign manpower and immigration have been among hot topics of discussion in Singapore recently.

The government announced a comprehensive package of incentives worth a total of 2 billion Singapore dollars earlier this week to raise its total fertility rate, including giving priority to parents with children in selecting public housing units, assisted reproduction, a week of paid paternity leave and healthcare subsidies. (1 U.S. dollar = 1.22 Singapore dollars)

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