30 Aug 2012, 4.00PM
Original Thread created on 28 Aug 2012, 21:55
In his National Day Rally speech, PM Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore must always be the best Home where Singaporeans feel they belong, show loyalty to the country and take pride in what Singapore has achieved together. As families are central to what Home means, Singapore must be where people want to get married, have children and bring up the next generation.
PM Lee reiterated that Singaporeans are having too few babies, with the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) falling steadily to 1.2 last year. More Singaporeans are also remaining single or marrying later, and married couples are having fewer children.
Highlighting some of the views shared by Singaporeans, including requests for more flexible work arrangements and accessible childcare, PM Lee assured that the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) is consulting widely and studying the various concerns carefully as part of the population issue. He added that a package will be worked out by the time White Paper is published.
Meanwhile, some broad ideas based on the views received so far, were highlighted:-
- Promote flexible work arrangements and improve work culture and employer attitudes;
- Give housing priority to couples with children;
- Have some form of paternity leave to signal the importance of the father’s role and shared responsibility for raising children;
- Create a Medisave account with a small sum for each child at birth to defray childhood medical expenses;
- Keep pre-school affordable and raise the standards of the sector;
- Provide financial support for childcare and infant care for low- and middle-income households;
- Continue to help operators set up childcare centres in housing estates and near workplaces; and
- Improve the baby bonus
While these measures will address practical problems that couples face, it is also about having the right values and deep motivations as Singaporeans will get marry and have children because of a sense of fulfilment. There is hence a need to change our mindsets and norms, and create the right social environment for Singaporeans to settle down and start a family.
Share your thoughts on PM Lee’s speech on building a best Home and encouraging Singaporeans to settle down and start a family.
Updated on 30 Aug 2012
Singapore will see higher birth rate and become a more gracious society if it can achieve better work-life balance, said women participants at a post-National Day Rally forum on Wednesday. The forum was attended by some 60 women participants from 11 organisations and six institutes of higher learning. Speaking at the dialogue, Madam Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports said that work-life balance is one of the areas where Singapore needs “a quantum leap, fresh ideas and fresh thinking”.
Participants at the forum also noted that stress and commitments at work and school were at the core of ungraciousness towards others, something that Prime Minister Lee had also flagged at the National Day Rally.
Read the full story at “Work-life balance still a key issue: Women
” for more details.