Lee Siok Hong’s family is one of 5,000 households slated to benefit from enhanced child care subsidies. As a non-working mother, the increase in subsidies will allow her to focus on raising her two young children.
Sitting on the couch in her living room, Siok Hong is surrounded by the trappings of home. For most of the day, she tends to her six-month-old baby, Mavis, while her older child, Oscar spends his day at a child care centre.
The 38-year-old put her career in admin and customer service on hold to focus on raising her two children in their crucial early years. With her husband as the sole breadwinner, Siok Hong and her family fall under the middle income category – they do not have to worry about making ends meet, but still feel the pinch of raising a child.
Siok Hong estimates that monthly child care costs for Oscar alone reach up to $450. This adds to the family’s expenses, which include necessities such as diapers for Mavis.
The increase in child care subsidies which Siok Hong will receive from the Early Childhood Development Agency will go a long way in helping her defray some of these costs.
From 1 March 2019, thanks to the Government’s enhanced support for non-working mothers, families like Siok Hong’s can enjoy a further boost in subsidies ranging from $100 to $440, subject to means testing. It is on top of a $300 monthly basic subsidy.
Besides higher subsidies, Siok Hong can also enjoy these subsidies until her younger child turns 24 months, up from 18 months previously.
Siok Hong recalls that when she took care of Oscar as an infant, she often had to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to his needs. Going to work the next day was exhausting. While Oscar was at infant care, he often got sick and this brought Siok Hong constant worry and stress at work, as she was unable to leave to pick him up.
Instead of having to repeat this tiring routine for Mavis, Siok Hong feels reassured that she can stay home to focus on caring for her.
Read more about ECDA’s announcements here.
More on MSF’s announcements here.