Indranee Rajah: Flexible work, fertility, health and financial incentives could encourage more couples to have children

Singapore – Flexible working arrangements and healthy fertility are among the options being considered by the government to encourage couples to have more children.

Prime Minister’s Office Minister Indranee Rajah said on Sunday (November 21) that parents in Singapore have raised some issues and challenges.

The costs of raising children, the time needed to care for very young children on the one hand and elderly parents on the other hand are some of the issues Ms. Indranee highlighted in a Facebook post.

Ms Indranee, who took over the portfolio of the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) from last year, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, said the policies and measures were being revised to provide more support to families.

“At NPTD, we are reviewing our current policies and measures to see what can be done to better support families and encourage marriage and parenthood,” she noted.

An important aspect of the review is to promote flexible working arrangements.

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, working from home has become the new normal for many employers and workers.

In a series of seven dialogues on marriage and parenting with NPTD, parents with young children shared that more flexible work arrangements have allowed them to spend more time with family.

“We must continue to find ways to create family-friendly and supportive workplaces, which in turn will create dynamic, progressive and economically productive businesses,” said Ms. Indranee.

While not a new practice, flexible working, among other options, has become increasingly important to the younger generation, she noted.

“Since it’s not just about money, so if you put more and more money into it, you might not necessarily get the result you want,” Ms. Indranee added.

Although there is currently no incentive for employers to promote flexibility in the workplace, Ms. Indranee noted that “the best impetus really is if companies themselves understand that it is in their best interest ( to do). “

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“The question is, how do you design workplaces around family without actually sacrificing productivity? My own feeling is that it’s the companies that can get it right – those with good HR practices and family-centricity – that are likely to have the highest productivity, employee retention, and performance. ability to attract and recruit, ”she said. said, reported The times of the straits.

In October of this year, the Baby Bonus program was enhanced for eligible children born or estimated due date on or after January 1, 2015.

According to the Department of Social and Family Development, parents will receive the following cash gift in five installments over 18 months.

Photo: from MSF website

In addition to the flexible and cash-working incentives already available, Ms. Indranee pointed out that fertility health is another area to focus on.

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“Feedback indicates that greater awareness and better access to information is very important. Also, the need to reduce stigma and provide better support at work and in society. “

“Some attention needs to be given to going upstream to look at fertility health earlier rather than waiting until it is much more difficult to treat,” she added.

Ms. Indranee called on businesses, employers, families and individuals to create “this ecosystem of support” because it is something that government alone cannot accomplish. / TISG

Read related: Indranee Rajah on new marriage restrictions, “I know couples… will be disappointed”

Indranee Rajah on new marriage restrictions, “I know couples… will be disappointed”

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