Annual leave, housing policies to be reviewed in effort to encourage young couples to raise families

The review intends to tackle the issue of Singaporeans marrying late and having fewer babies.

Fitri Mahad

Probably the only person that likes to hear the koels go ‘uwu’.

Published: 11 October 2022, 5:12 PM

The Government will review housing policies and leave measures in an effort to encourage young couples to start families, said Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (Oct 10). 

Speaking at a Forward Singapore conversation for social service practitioners, Mr Wong also addressed several concerns by young Singaporeans on housing and workplace arrangements. 

He noted that Singaporeans are getting married later and having fewer children. Part of the reason is because young couples are concerned about issues like housing, workplace arrangements and education for their children. 

These include long wait times for new flats and rising resale home prices, said Mr Wong. The COVID-19 disruptions in the last two and a half years have contributed to the long wait times, he noted. 

The Government will review their housing policies to help first-time homebuyers secure a flat “quickly and affordably”.

Mr Wong also added that the Housing Development Board (HDB) will ramp up its supply and will launch more flats to meet this demand.

In the workplace, the Government will also review leave measures and work arrangements to enable parents to better balance their work and family commitments.

Mr Wong cited the benefits of flexible work arrangements (FWA) during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as employees contributing effectively to their work and having the flexibility to attend to their caregiving needs.

With this, the Government intends to develop a set of Tripartite Guidelines on FWAs by working with tripartite partners to establish more family-friendly workplaces where FWAs become the norm.

The Government will also review leave measures while taking into account the needs of employers in the current “tight labour market”.

However, Mr Wong stressed that it does not mean that “they (the Government) will do everything”, adding the need to consider “all the constraints and needs” of different stakeholders. 

He also highlighted how the review is not focused on just more leave, but the importance for fathers to share more responsibility when caring for their children.

He said: “Because we all know that in most families today, mothers still bear the larger share of the caregiving burden. We should aim for a more equal sharing of parental responsibilities.”

Those who wish to get involved in the Forward SG exercise can do so by visiting its website.

For more content about Forward SG and how youths can participate, click here.

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