Singapore PM announces new baby policies

By United Press International  |  Aug. 22, 2004 at 9:10 PM
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SINGAPORE, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Singapore's new Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced bold steps Sunday to make it easier for families to have children.

Maternity leave will be increase by four weeks to 12 weeks, the maid levies will be lowered for families with children under 12 years old and the government will finally agreed to a fice-day worl week and equal medical benefits for men and women in the Civil Service.

Announcing the changes in his first National Day Rally speech Sunday, Lee also said the government will help with subsidies for infantcare and Working parents with kids under seven will also get two days of childcare leave.

The Baby Bonus introduced four years ago for the second and third child will also be extended to cover the first and fourth.

"This package by itself is not going to solve the problem but if it changes Singaporean mindsets toward marriage, family and children, and causes people to think again and reorder their priorities and life, then I think it can contribute to turning the situation around," Lee said.

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