Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Recommendations to Increase Child Birth in Singapore

Press Release
For immediate release.

Recommendations to Increase Child Birth in Singapore

I read the Prime Minister’s suggestions of 16 weeks maternity leave with great wary. First of all, the 12 week maternity leave was only just recently adjusted from 8 weeks only on 1 Oct 2004. There would be repercussions to the adjustment.

Ref: http://fcd.ecitizen.gov.sg/GovernmentPaidMaternityLeave

Small & Medium Enterprises are likely going to be hit hard as they would need to cater for additional replacement for another month. Many SMEs are already feeling the impact of the slowdown in the economy coupled with the additional cost of rental, utilities, cost of products, raw materials and services being rendered.

With the increase to 16 week maternity leave, it would probably drive them to hire male staffs instead of female staff. When this happens, it would cause a huge imbalance to the gender ratio of those employed. Female jobseekers will face a harder time looking for suitable job opportunities as they face the risk of being sidelined.

I would like to recommend the following solutions.

1) Maintain the status quo of 12 weeks maternity leave. Encourage small business owners to leverage the internet to use remote access infrastructure for workers on maternity leave so they can do some light clerical work and access relevant documents using VPN (Virtual Private Network) technologies. The government should encourage companies to have a paperless environment and implement cost effective remote access solutions so that SMEs can have a more nimble and mobile workforce. If this is implemented, SME bosses would be able to create flexible work schemes for working mums. More women will have the choice of working from home if they wish to.

2) The main concern of most Singaporeans when having a baby is cost. However, a large number of parents encounter the big nightmare of having to squeeze a child’s pram in jammed packed MRTs. Manoeuvering a child’s pram is no easy feat. Even without a pram, it can be really dangerous as babies are really delicate. Most parents would really like to own a car. We would strongly request that the government waive off the COE for first time parents who wish to purchase a car and free Road Tax for the next two years. Similarly we would like to suggest a free 2 year Road Tax waiver for the second kid onwards.

I am confident that with these rewards in place, Singaporeans will be highly motivated to have kids and start building their family.

Edmund Ng Say Eng
Organizing Secretary
Reform Party