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Baby Bonus Scheme is implemented 1st Apr 2001

The Baby Bonus Scheme was first introduced by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during the National Day Rally held on 20 August 2000, and officially implemented on 1 April 2001. Also known as the Child Development Co-savings Scheme, this initiative is targeted at boosting fertility rates by encouraging married couples to have more babies.[1]

Expected to cost S$260 million yearly, a Children Development Account (CDA) was set up by the government for married couples having their second or third child. Eligible children can receive government dollar-for-dollar contributions capped at $6,000 (for a second child) or $12,000 (for a third child), when parents save in their CDA. The contributions are capped at $1,000 (for a second child) or $2,000 (for a third child) yearly.[2]

Parents can use CDA funds to defray the cost of educational and developmental courses for the child, or their sibling, at an approved institution such as a childcare centre or kindergarten.

Besides CDA benefits, eligible children can receive yearly cash gifts of $500 (for a second child) or $1,000 (for a third child). The cash gifts are meant to help parents meet incidental expenses related to informal care and developmental arrangements for the child or their sibling.

These monetary bonuses continue until the child turns six.[3]

Aside from monetary incentives, expectant mothers are also entitled to eight weeks of paid maternity leave for their third child, instead of just for the first two children, with the government paying employers up to $20,000 (for the third child only) to lighten their burden.[4]

The new measures were implemented in an attempt to improve the declining birth rate in Singapore. When the government halted its “Stop at Two” population policy in 1987, the fertility rate, which is the number of babies an average woman bears in her lifetime, was 1.62. The following year, the figure saw a slight increase to 1.96, likely due to 1988 being the year of the dragon. Chinese parents believe children born in this year are particularly blessed with good luck and traits. However, in 2000, the fertility rate fell to 1.48, despite it also being a dragon year. In order to replace Singapore’s population, a fertility rate of at least 2.1 was required.[5] 

In 2015, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced enhancements to the Baby Bonus scheme in his National Day Rally speech.[6] Families with newborns are eligible for the Baby Bonus Plus of $2,000 to help defray child-rearing costs, and the Baby Bonus is extended to the fifth child and beyond. Children born on or after 1 January 2015 can receive up to S$10,000 depending on their birth order.[7]

References
1. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2000, August 20). National Day Rally Address by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Speech in English on 20 August 2000. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
2. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (2000, August 20). National Day Rally Address by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Speech in English on 20 August 2000. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline
3. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, 20 August 2000.; Saw, S-H. (2012). The population of Singapore (pp. 224-225). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Call no.: RSING 304.6095957 SAW
4. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, 20 August 2000.; Saw, 2012, p. 222.
5. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, 20 August 2000; Ng, S. (2000, August 21). Govt to pay employers for third-child maternity leaveThe Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Prime Minister’s Office. (2015, August 23). National Day Rally 2015. Retrieved August 15, 2018, from Prime Minister’s Office website: https://www.pmo.gov.sg/national-day-rally-2015
7. National Population and Talent Division. (2015, August 25). Jubilee Marriage and Parenthood Package to Better Support Families [Press release]. Retrieved August 15, 2018, from Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office website: https://www.strategygroup.gov.sg/media-centre/press-releases/article/GetPdf/jubilee-marriage-and-parenthood-package-to-better-support-families/

 

The information in this article is valid as at Sep 2015 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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