Family support a bigger incentive to have more kids

I was amazed to hear that some high-earning women were considering leaving the workforce on account of the new personal income tax relief cap of $80,000 ("MPs call for more help for working mums"; April 6, and "Hot under the collar about $80k tax relief cap"; April 5).

Would such women want to give up a possible $200,000 to $250,000 annual salary just because they would have to pay $5,000 more in taxes a year?

Are such women really being penalised? Isn't a tax relief of $80,000 a year for an estimated 21 years before each child completes full-time studies a lot of money?

Even with the new cap, nine in 10 women can continue to claim the Working Mother's Child Relief (WMCR) fully.

The Government has been trying to increase the fertility rate since the 1980s, with measures such as the WMCR. However, the fertility rate has been falling, from 1.74 in 1980 to 1.24 last year.

The WMCR scheme does somehow put capable career women in a quandary. If a woman wants to have children because of the incentive, she may not feel that she is a good mother. But if a woman already wants a child, this scheme has little impact on her decision.

For many families, the biggest push to have children, or more of them, is family support.

It means a lot more to a couple if their parents are willing to help take care of the grandchildren.

Perhaps we could come up with ways to gather grandparents' support to improve our fertility rate.

Ivan Goh Sian Lung