Do more to support working mums

Office workers  in the central business district.
Office workers in the central business district. PHOTO: ST FILE

The debate of Budget 2016 continued yesterday as 25 MPs discussed the economic goals for the financial year. They talked about the right culture for entrepreneurship to thrive, support for working mothers, and help for workers of different income levels. Chong Zi Liang reports.

Almost half of the MPs who spoke yesterday asked for more to be done to help working mothers juggle family and career.

The current operating hours of childcare facilities make it hard for parents who have to travel overseas for work or do not hold office- hour jobs, said Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC).

Mr Gan wants 24-hour childcare services to be set up for them.

He and Ms Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson) also suggested the Government explore ways to help parents find nannies for their children as an alternative to childcare centres.

Another issue MPs raised was the personal income tax relief cap of $80,000, which affects mainly high-earning mothers.

Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) said the cap should not apply to widowed or divorced mothers, as they face the challenge of raising their children on their own.

Other MPs called for the children of unwed parents to be given benefits, such as the Child Development Account First Step grant and KidStart programme, which children of needy families enjoy.

Mr Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) said illegitimate children have the same needs as those whose parents are married.

They should not be treated differently because of what their parents did, he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 06, 2016, with the headline 'Do more to support working mums'. Print Edition | Subscribe