The Marriage and Parenthood (M&P) Package refers to the set of pro-family incentives and benefits implemented by the Singapore Government in 2001 to encourage more Singaporeans to marry and have children. This is part of on-going efforts to address Singapore’s declining fertility rate, which has remained below replacement level since 1977.
The new measures were announced by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during his National Day Rally speech on 20 August 2000. He shared how the government aimed to “create a total environment conducive to raising a family” by helping couples to defray the financial cost of having children as well as balancing family and work responsibilities.
The Children Development Co-Savings Scheme (or Baby Bonus) and the Third Child Paid Maternity Leave Scheme (3CML) were the first initiatives to be unveiled during the speech and were put into effect from 1 April 2001 for babies born from that date onwards.
Under the Baby Bonus Scheme, the government would open a Child Development Account for a couple’s second or third child and deposit a cash gift as well as match dollar-for-dollar the amount deposited by parents. The two payments are disbursed every year until the child turns six. Parents can use the money to defray the expenses incurred for the development and education of their children, such as nursery and kindergarten fees.
The 3CML scheme allows working mothers to take eight weeks of paid maternity leave when their third child is born. The government reimburses employers for the wage cost of the maternity leave, initially subject to a cap of S$20,000 which has been increased to S$40,000. This provision allows mothers to spend time with their newborns without suffering any loss of income.
Shortly after the rally, the government announced the introduction of flexible work arrangements as well as marriage and paternity leave for civil servants in the hopes that the private sector would do likewise to build a pro-family working environment.
The incentives to support parenthood later included a flexible childcare subsidy scheme in January 2003. The scheme, previously limited to only full-day and half-day care, was extended to allow parents the option of placing their child in care for at least 12 hours a week at a minimum of 3 hours each time. These parents were eligible for financial subsidies between S$25 and S$150 per month depending on whether the mother was working and the number of hours the child would be taken care of.
The government reviews the effectiveness of the measures from time to time with the latest enhancements made to the M&P Package in 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2015.
1. National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. (2012–2015). Issue paper 2012 – A Strong and Cohesive Society. Retrieved October 25, 2015, from National Population and Talent Division website: http://population.sg/vision/society/#.ViyxPPmqqko
2. National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. (2012, June). Marriage and Parenthood Trends in Singapore (pp. 2–3). Singapore: National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. Retrieved October 21, 2015, from National Population and Talent Division website: http://www.nptd.gov.sg/portals/0/news/Occasional%20Paper%20on%20MP%20Trends%20_For%20Media%20Briefing%2028%20Jun%202012_w%20annex.pdf
3. 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
4. Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, 20 Aug 2000.
5. Leong, P. P. (2001, March 14). Baby bonus come April 1. Today, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Saw, S-H. (2012). The population of Singapore (p. 224). Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Call no.: RSING 304.6095957 SAW; Baby Bonus. (2000, August 21). The New Paper, p. 11. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Saw, 2012, p. 225.
8. Pay childcare fees with Baby Bonus. (2001, February 10). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Ng, S. (2000, August 21). Govt to pay employers for third-child maternity leave. The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. Saw, 2012, pp. 222–223.; The New Paper, 21 Aug 2000, p. 11.; Hey Baby. (n.d.). Maternity leave. Retrieved December 15, 2015 from Hey Baby website: http://www.heybaby.sg/worklife/maternity_leave.html
11. The Business Times, 21 Aug 2000, p. 1.
12. Ng, S. (2000, August 29). Civil service to permit teleworking. The Business Times, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Sim, C. Y. (2002, December 18). Flexi-childcare from next month. The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. The Straits Times, 18 Dec 2002, p. 4.
15. Lee, R. (2004, August 26). Parenthood gets a $300m boost. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. (2008, August 20). Government doubles budget to provide more support for marriage and parenthood [Media release]. Retrieved October 25, 2015 from National Population and Talent Division website: http://www.nptd.gov.sg/portals/0/news/Media%20release%2020%20Aug%202008%20-%20Enhanced%20M%26P%20Package%20-%20final.pdf
17. National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. (2013, January 21). Enhanced marriage & parenthood package in support of a pro-family environment in Singapore. [Press release]. Retrieved October 25, 2015 from National Population and Talent Division website: http://www.nptd.gov.sg/portals/0/news/Press%20Release%202013%20MP%20Package%20v2.pdf
18. National Population and Talent Division, Prime Minister’s Office. (2015, August 25). Jubilee marriage & parenthood package to better support families. [Media release]. Retrieved October 25, 2015 from National Population and Talent Division website: http://www.nptd.gov.sg/Portals/0/Homepage/Highlights/20150825-media-release-jubilee-marriage-and-parenthood-package.pdf
The information in this article is valid as at Dec 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.