“Single mothers not eligible for parenting benefit schemes” is an outrage

 

It was said in Parliament today by DPM Tharman that “Parenting benefits for working mums apply within the context of marriage“.

AL-tharman-1708e

I find this utterly distasteful and harmfully discriminating.

The DPM did say that support is given in areas of childcare, healthcare and education to children “regardless of their parents’ marital status”, including being extended to single mothers.

However there are three policies that that was contained in this report:

a.) Single mothers do not qualify for Working Mother’s Child Relief (this is a tax relief)

b.) Single mothers do not qualify for Maid relief (this is a discount from the maid levy)

c.) Single mothers are not allowed to apply directly to the HDB to buy subsidised flats

The reason quoted is this: “to reflect the prevailing societal norm where marriage is the first step towards family formation”.

I am not liking how the argument is being approached. Indeed marriage is the first step towards family formation, but that is no reason for the government not to assist where such family formation fails.

Worse, society might read the policies as a punishment on single mothers.

It is a matter of fact single mothers have as much need for these reliefs as a married mother does. She has only herself and her earning power to rely on. Some have even been estranged from their family because of this situation, that she has no one to turn to for help.

If the government is worried that by extending the same policies to single mothers would bring about more single motherhood, then I would say with confidence that this is nothing to fear. It is not reasonable to think that a woman would intentionally want to be single, it is against a woman’s nature.

In fact, the benefits outweigh the unrealistic fears. By extending these policies, you are helping to reduce suicides, crime, delinquent children and you will be providing a small bit of relief from the harshness of single parenthood.

Regardless of economic status, a mother is a mother is a mother. And I’d like to point out from Malcom Gladwell’s “Freakonomics” – that a woman would rather go through painful decisions of abortion than to give birth to a child she feels she is not ready for.

I hope the government would reconsider this discriminating policy.

 

 

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About the author

Tay Leong Tan

Tay Leong Tan is a collective of 3 writers. Tay, Leong and Tan. (Who were you expecting?!) We are enthusiastic about labour issues, economics and current affairs in particular.

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6 Comments

  • Singapore as a society, despite being highly educated and highly intelligent, is still very backwards thinking and lack care to its population. This is a reflection and proof of such mentality.

    Based on the above article, I would suggest that the government needs to change its approach. Yes, the government needs to try and do what benefits the majority of the population. However, given the percentage of the exceptional demographics, how difficult it is to set aside a percentage of your annual budget to help the minority demographic?

    For a country that boasts a huge reserve, surely 5% of your annual budget would go a long way to help these individuals!

    As the author(s) rightfully point out, there would be exceptionally few (if any) who wants to be a single parent by their own choosing.

    Give them the benefits and empower them to have the ability to hold a job, and provide for the future of their children. Because their children also deserve a chance like any other.

    To clarify. I am a married individual with 2 children. And I’ve seen how single parent families struggle. The least we can do is to help – help the parent, help the child.

  • In spite of all the top brains thinking and mapping out policies they can still come up with such bullshit?
    They think that single mothers chose to be single or what?!! If they want more babies, then they should be as fanatical in their thinking about having more babies than they are doing for economic growth. Single mothers cannot give birth or what? Any child born out of wedlock should be treated like a child born to married couples. The G wants more children and yet punished single mothers because of some motherhood statements about family units, etc and the load of bullshit. Shame on you PAP!

  • All I can add is that this is a kotek garmen. Why discriminate if you are so short of citizens. Those FT’s who bring their ah kong ah mah is ok isit? After all single mothers are also human, not aliens.

  • These are benefits not entitlements or rights.

    In addition, single mothers in this instance applies to only unwed mothers.

    Divorced and widowed mothers still can claim the benefits.

    So the percentage is very small, in addition, are we trying to encourage teenagers to be single mothers thru such commentaries which does not delve into the hard facts

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