SINGAPORE - Parents of Singaporean children born from Oct 1 this year to Sept 30, 2022, can get a one-off $3,000 grant to help them defray the cost of raising a child amid the pandemic.
The Baby Support Grant will supplement the existing Baby Bonus cash gift - which can go up to $10,000 - and will be deposited into the same bank account that parents have nominated for receiving the cash gift.
Payments will start from April 1 next year or within one month of enrolment into the Baby Bonus scheme, whichever is later.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, who announced the grant on Friday (Oct 9), noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy on Singaporeans planning to wed and start families.
"The Government will spare no effort to help couples meet their marriage and parenthood aspirations," she added.
"We also hope that more businesses and community groups will play their part to support couples juggle work and family, provide affordable goods and services for young families, and ultimately, create a Singapore that is made for families."
Some companies have answered that call, and are offering special perks to families with young children.
Baby products brand Mothercare will offer its VIP membership to all Singaporeans who are giving birth over the next 12 months so they will be eligible for special discounts.
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD), which jointly administers the Baby Support Grant with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), also said it understands that some parents who may have missed the start date for the scheme may be disappointed that they are not eligible for the new grant.
"We would like to seek the public's understanding that specific start dates are needed for any new measure or enhancement," said the NPTD, which added that children born before Oct 1 this year are still able to enjoy many benefits under the Marriage and Parenthood Package.
SOME SINGAPOREANS WILL DELAY MARRIAGE, FAMILY PLANS
The NPTD added that some couples have indicated that they will postpone their life plans due to concerns over their financial stability and employment prospects.
A recent survey commissioned by the NPTD and the MSF found that about 30 per cent of respondents said they will likely delay marriage or have a child laterbecause of the pandemic and its effects on the economy.
The survey polled about 4,100 Singaporeans - about half were singles aged 22 to 32 who were in serious relationships; the rest were married individuals aged 21 to 45.
Around 80 per cent of the married individuals who indicated that they plan to delay having children said they would do so for up to two years, while the rest said they would delay for longer than two years, or were unsure.
The main concerns for those delaying family plans included uncertainty about the global health situation in light of Covid-19, shaky economic and employment prospects and worries about the safety of healthcare facilities.
Around 70 per cent of the singles planning to delay wedding plans said they would put marriage on hold for up to two years, with most citing the uncertain global health situation and the practical difficulty of holding a wedding ceremony.
They also raised concerns over the economy and job security.
"As age affects fertility, marrying and having children later may result in families being unable to have the number of children they aspire to have," said the NPTD.