Making Singapore A Great Place For Families
Singaporeans planning to get married and have children can look forward to more support in preschool, housing, and healthcare. The enhancements were announced today by Mrs Josephine Teo (Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs, who also oversees Population matters), together with Mr Desmond Lee (Minister for Social and Family Development & Second Minister for National Development), and Dr Amy Khor (Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources).
Efforts have been made in recent years to reduce the cost of raising a family in Singapore. The Government has enabled couples to purchase an HDB flat faster, improved the quality, affordability and accessibility of preschools, made healthcare for newborns, children, and mothers-to-be more affordable, as well as encouraged stronger workplace and community support for families. The new enhancements will build on these efforts.
Singaporeans have also expressed challenges with managing work and family commitments. The upcoming Citizens’ Panel on Work-Life Harmony will bring together Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds, including employers and employees, to look into ways to create the conditions for achieving work-life harmony.
Enhanced measures to support marriage and parenthood
The following policy enhancements were announced today:
a. Making Quality Preschool More Affordable and Accessible for Families
i. From January 2020, the Government will raise the gross monthly household income ceiling to $12,000 for means-tested preschool subsidies, up from $7,500 for Additional subsidy and $6,000 for Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS). Around 30,000 more families will benefit from the higher income ceiling, up from 41,000 families receiving these means-tested subsidies today.
ii. Subsidy amounts will also be increased across all eligible income tiers, so parents can expect to pay less for preschool. For example, from January 2020, a dual-income family earning $5,000 a month will pay $130 a month per child for full-day childcare services at an Anchor Operator preschool after subsidies, compared to up to $370 a month today. Lower-income families will pay even less. For example, families earning $3,000 or less per month will pay $3 a month per child at Anchor Operator preschools.
iii. The current fee caps for Anchor Operators will be maintained in the near term. Under the new five-year contract for Partner Operators starting January 2021, ECDA will lower the fee caps for Partner Operators.
iv. The Government will continue to expand provision of quality, affordable and accessible preschool places. 80 per cent of preschoolers can have a place in a quality government-supported preschool run by Anchor Operators, Partner Operators, or MOE by around 2025, up from just over 50 per cent today.
b. More Healthcare Support for Couples and Children
i. The Ministry of Health (MOH) will improve the accessibility and affordability of nationally recommended childhood vaccinations and developmental screenings, and enhance support for couples to meet parenthood aspirations.
ii. MOH will extend subsidies for all vaccinations under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and childhood developmental screenings. The subsidised vaccinations will include those for personal protection which are not subsidised currently. Subsidies will be available at all Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) General Practitioner clinics and polyclinics. Details will be announced by MOH next year, with the enhancements implemented before end-2020.
iii. MOH will make the following changes to make fertility treatments more accessible and affordable with effect from 1 January 2020.
(1) MOH will lift the age limit of 45 years old for women to undergo assisted reproduction technology (ART) treatments and remove the cap on the number of ART cycles for all women.
(2) Women 40 years old and above will be eligible for Government co-funding for up to two of the six ART cycles, as long as they had attempted assisted reproduction (AR) or IUI procedures before 40 years old.
(3) Government co-funding will be introduced for the less invasive Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) procedure to better support fertility treatment prior to ART. Eligible couples undergoing the IUI procedures at the public AR centres will be able to receive co-funding of up to 75 per cent, capped at $1,000 per treatment cycle, for three cycles of IUI.
c. Extending Further Support to First-Time Home Buyers
- i. Measures to extend further support to first-timers buying new and resale flats will be announced in September 2019.
d. Waiver of Passport Application Fee for Newborns
- i. Application fees will be waived for parents who are applying for the first passport for their Singapore Citizen children born on or after 1 January 2020. To enjoy the waiver, parents must submit passport applications online for these children before their first birthday. More details on the application process will be provided later this year.
Please refer to ECDA’s and MOH’s press releases for more details of their respective enhancements.