More financial support will be given to parents to help ease the costs of raising their children, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in his Feb. 14 Budget speech.
The adjustments are aimed at ensuring that greater support is given to those with greater needs.
The changes include:
- increased Baby Bonus Cash Gift (BBCG) by S$3,000
- enhancements to the Child Development Account (CDA), and
- changes to the Working Mother's Child Relief (WMCR) scheme.
Eligible Singaporean children born on or after Feb. 14, 2023, will qualify for the enhanced BBCG and CDA, while the WMCR will apply for Singaporean children born or adopted from Jan. 1, 2024.
However, the measures will only kick in from next year to cater sufficient time for the changes.
Bigger baby bonus
Currently, parents of eligible Singaporean children qualify for a BBCG of up to S$10,000.
This will be increased by S$3,000 for children born on or after Feb. 14, 2023. With the changes, an S$11,000 grant will be issued for first and second children, and a S$13,000 grant for third and subsequent children.
The disbursement schedule will also be lengthened. Whereas parents previously received the money in five payments over the span of 18 months, the enhanced cash gift will now be paid out over the span of 6.5 years.
Up to S$9,000 will be paid out in the first 18 months of a child's life and S$400 paid out every six months starting from when the child is two until they turn 6.5 years old.
"In this way, parents can receive continuous support all the way until their child enters primary school," Wong said.
Meanwhile, the Baby Support Grant, a S$3,000 cash payment to help defray child-raising costs during the Covid-19 pandemic, will be extended to eligible children born from Oct. 1, 2022, to Feb. 13, 2023.
The enhanced BBCG will be paid out from early 2024. Parents will be notified by the Ministry of Social and Family Development when the enhanced BBCG is paid out.
"So to all young married couples: whether you already have a newborn, or you are expecting a baby, or you plan to have a baby...we have something to help you in your parenthood journey," Wong added.
More help in child-raising costs
Government contributions to the CDA — a special savings account to help parents with child-raising expenditures — will also be enhanced.
Currently, the government makes a S$3,000 contribution to each child's CDA without requiring parents' contributions, under the CDA First Step Grant.
This amount will be increased by S$2,000 for all eligible children born from Feb. 14, 2023.
The government will also increase the cap for co-matching parents' CDA savings by S$1,000 for first- and second-born children.
Combined with the BBCG and the existing Medisave Grant for Newborns, this brings the total maximum government contributions to S$24,000 for the first child, S$27,000 for the second, S$31,000 for the third and fourth, and S$37,000 for any subsequent children.
Support for working mothers
For Singaporean children born or adopted from Jan. 1, 2024, the WMCR — a tax relief scheme to encourage mothers to continue working — will be changed from a percentage of the mother's earned income, to a fixed dollar amount.
This will be as such: S$8,000 for the first child, S$10,000 for the second, and S$12,000 for each third and subsequent child.
Previously, the relief was based on 15 per cent of the mother's earned income for the first child, 20 per cent of earned income for the second, and 25 per cent of earned income for the third.
"Effectively, this will provide more government support for eligible lower- to middle-income working mothers," Wong explained.
Lapse of maid levy tax relief
Meanwhile, the government will lapse the foreign domestic worker levy tax relief for all taxpayers from 2025.
"This is because we already have a migrant domestic worker levy concession, which provides more targeted support for families who need help caring for their dependants, including young children below 16 years old," Wong said.
The concessionary levy of S$60 per month for eligible parties (those with children below 16 years old and/or elderly at home) will remain. The usual levy is S$300 a month for the first helper.
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