27 Jan '11, 3pm

240 days' leave. A monthly allowance of $205. Our reader tells us why Sweden may have the answer to our fertility woes.

I AGREE with Ms Laurelle He ('Encourage gender equality and the babies will come'; last Saturday). In Sweden, if parents care jointly for the child, they are entitled to 240 days' leave each with parental benefit. Monthly child allowance of 1,050 Swedish kronor (S$205) per child is also paid up to and including the quarter when the child reaches the age of 16. If Singapore makes a paradigm shift and matches the Swedish family benefits, I am sure Singaporeans could do much better. Our declining birth rate was largely due to social and economic transformation during the last 50 years, when more women with better education joined the workforce. Materialism and pragmatism have forced child-bearing to take a backseat. The trend seems irreversible due to changing perceptions. I did a cursory comparison of Singapore's TFR to its gross domestic product (GDP) over the last 60 years...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/OnlineStory/STIStory_...

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