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Could Singapore’s declining birth rate improve by letting workers go home one hour early?

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Could Singapore’s declining birth rate improve by letting workers go home one hour early?

SINGAPORE: The debate over Singapore’s declining birth rate has taken a new turn with an intriguing proposal: letting workers go home one hour early.

The conversation started with a concerned citizen questioning if Singapore is really unconducive for raising a family.

In a post circulating online, a Singaporean woman highlighted the challenges of raising a family in the city-state. Central to the discussion was whether the current corporate culture, along with existing maternity and paternity leave policies, adequately supports families.

The post pointed out a common belief among some Singaporeans that the system often pressures new mothers to return to work prematurely, that women are “rushed back to work just a mere 12 weeks after their entire lives/bodies/minds turned upside down.”

“The number of women I know who genuinely struggle so much, not because of the baby but because of the SG system after giving birth,” the post read. “We are not a nation ready to accept mothers in the workplace.”

Critics argue that despite financial incentives like baby bonuses, the underlying attitudes in corporate environments remain stagnant. Many still perceive mothers as burdens on company resources. This perception dissuades women from considering motherhood or from having more children than they might otherwise.

“Throw all the baby bonuses you want but mindsets have not changed in the corporate world,” the post continued, “The day mothers stop having to put teeny tiny three month old babies in infant care centres to return to work in order to earn money to simply survive (and pay for said infant care), is the day that more women will want to have babies.

A notable proposal emerged from the discussion: allowing employees, especially parents, to leave work one hour earlier each day. The commenter argued, Leaving work 1 hour early is not going to end the economy or cause businesses to shut down considering that most people are playing on their phone in that final hour anyway. But it will make a difference to parents to spend extra time with kids.”

One netizen on another post, meanwhile, suggested taxing unmarried individuals who do not contribute to the national birth rate.

“Should unmarried individuals be taxed at a higher rate?” he asked. “Especially those who hit menopause with their own HDB flat as they did not contribute to the birth rate of the nation in their lifetime or national service yet they still receive good benefits such as buying HDB. It does not make sense at all.

His suggestion was roundly criticised as unfair and unrealistic by fellow Singaporeans online.

/TISG

Read also: Singapore birth rate record low: Nearly 8% drop in 2022

The post Could Singapore’s declining birth rate improve by letting workers go home one hour early? appeared first on The Independent Singapore News - Latest Breaking News

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