Is maternity leave effective enough to spur baby boom?

    Kerry Consulting

    Declan O’Sullivan
    Managing Director, Kerry Consulting

    My own guess is that this would not have a huge impact on the birthrate. Of course it would be bound to increase it somewhat. However one might consider that such a policy is not cost free. One is really asking the (often private sector) employer to shoulder a cost relating to state policy. In a sense it would amount to a form of potential indirect tax, on the employer, when employing females. This might well generate unforeseen, possibly negative, outcomes.

    It might be more useful to address the perception that child rearing is an expensive activity, for the typical dual income Singaporean couple. Major components of this expense include all the obvious direct costs, together with possible loss in salary if a parent decides to stay at home in order to raise the child(ren) and / or, third party childcare.

    Has the possibility of some form of state subsidy, possibly means tested, for childcare, been examined?

    Ultimately all policy decisions are trade offs. Just how badly does Singapore want to increase its birthrate? The whole matter would need
    quite a bit of thought…”