As reported on 24 August 2012 (MyPaper), several proposals were recommended to address the issue of population growth. Below are my take on the policies:
Affordable and Good-Quality pre-school
The primary goal of an affordable pre-school is to allow the couple to work and improve their standard of living. Currently, pre-school education remains unaffordable for most couples when they factor in the salary they draw. Therefore, the cost of pre-school should be made as low as possible.
HDB has provided with housing grants for couples who stayed near their parents. Giving priority may not be a stronger cause on couple as compared to grants. The policy should instead steer towards the affordability of housing estates. Currently, it takes around 20 years to pay off a housing loan, be it HDB or condominium. This is about the time at which their children will begin receiving their college education. Some may suggest that the children can apply for student loan or work part-time to support their studies. In my opinion, this would cause more couples to get married later or even lack the motivation and time to find a partner for our next generation.
Pro-Family HR practices
Part-time workers are sought after because of lowered benefit compared to full-time employees. Certain job scope like in the areas of accounting for SMEs, do not require full-time workers and have gradually shifted to a part=time based assignment so as to reduce cost. However, there are issues with regards to how well the ladies can adapt back to working environment after taking care of their kids for several years.
Shared Maternity Leave
The current leave system should be sufficient for the issue. Furthermore, the sharing of maternity leave will significantly affect the profit of the company. Taking everything into perspective, 2 months paternity leave + 2 weeks of National Service + 12-14 days of leave equates to nearly 3 months of paid leave and absence from work. The 2 months of paid leave is unacceptable for SMEs.
Increase in support for assisted reproduction
Medical Insurance for Newborn
Singaporean couples are getting married in their thirties. As Lee Kuan Yew has persistently lectured, this will cause these married couples to face some problems when it comes to conceiving of a baby. On the other hand, the percentage of such cases might be insignificant and required further statistics to back up the policy.