The Straits Times
Published on Feb 25, 2013

Housewives contribute as much as working women


I SUPPORT Mr Chew Kwok Choong's suggestion ("Don't limit maid levy relief to working women"; last Thursday). I am a father of two children below the age of five. My wife is expecting our third child this June. She has chosen to forgo her career to see to the development of our children during their crucial years. It is only with this decision that we are able to have our third child.

Like Mr Chew, I am not wealthy but my income is sufficient to provide a decent living for my family. We also hire a domestic helper to cope with the daily needs of the children and household.

I understand the rationale behind providing maid levy relief to working mothers to recognise their contributions to society by continuing to work after having children.

But we also need to realise the contributions of housewives. This is by no means an easy job. Its economical value is no less, if not more, than that of career women. It is definitely one of the most demanding jobs around, with no days off or annual leave.

I am confident that my wife's contribution to the economy will be evident when my children grow up to be useful members of the society.

In addition, even though my family has only one income source, I am not paying less income tax than a dual-income family of a similar size, demographic and total household income. In fact, the dual-income family pays less tax because the income is spread over husband and wife and is therefore subject to a lower tax rate.

Chua Khong Meng