Both parents have an equal responsibility in caring for their children. However it is usually the mother that has to leave everything else and put all her efforts into taking care for her kid. It usually stems from the fact that once the baby is born, the mother has to have some time off to recover from the delivery procedure.
Then there are other significant reasons that are exclusive to mothers e.g. breast feeding the kid. However times are changing and people are starting to realize that dads can be equally as good caretaker for children as the moms.
In fact studies have shown that it is actually better for the family to have a stay-at-home dad than a stay-at-home mom.
In the past few years the number of stay-at-home dads has increased in Singapore. With gender equality rules in place, women are earning equal or in some cases more than their male counterparts.
This is because people are being appointed on the basis of merit and not just their gender. Women are getting equal employment opportunities which means that in many households the mom earns more than the dad. In such cases it is better for the dad to become stay-at-home dad than the mom to become a stay-at-home mom.
Let’s take a look at some other reasons for why it makes more sense for a family in Singapore to have a stay-at-home dad than a stay-at-home mom.
A father to a newborn baby in Singapore gets up to 2 weeks of paternity leave however a working mother who has just had her baby can naturally get up to 16 weeks of maternity leave. This is because the mother’s body needs time to heal after a delivery.
So it makes more sense to have a stay-at-home dad than to have a stay-at-home mom in Singapore. If the mother decides to stay at home then the family will only be able to enjoy 2 weeks of family time.
However if the father is already a stay-at-home dad and the working mother takes 16 paid maternity leaves then this is not just financially more sensible but it also gives the family an opportunity to spend 16 weeks together without worrying about any deadlines or projects.
You can also find a good playgroup to place your child if there are days both of you need to be out of the home.
Foreign Maid Levy Relief
In the old days, it was always the mother who had to take care of her children while the father went out to work. In many parts of the world, it is still a norm for the mother to leave her job and take care of the kids.
This isn’t because the mother is considered more responsible for the children but because mothers have a natural instinct to take better care of the children. However with time, all of this is changing. The traditional norms are being challenged and fathers are also playing a vital role in taking care of the child.
However in some cases, when the mother is at work, the father may require a little help to take care of the child and the house in general. A sensible option in this case is to hire a professional maid who can support the father in taking care of the house and the kids while the mother is at work.
As per Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, working females can be eligible for FML or Foreign Maid Levy Relief.
If the father works or if both parents are unemployed and they hire a foreign maid then the family will not be eligible for the Foreign Maid Levy Relief.
However if the mother is a taxpayer then she can claim FML relief amount that is twice the amount of levy she paid to hire the foreign maid. So if she paid $100 per month to the maid, she would get a tax relief of $2400.
Working Mother’s Child Relief
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore states that employed mothers are eligible for ‘Working Mother’s Child Relief’. However they are only eligible for these funds if their child is a Singaporean citizen. Read here for details.
The relief amount, these working mothers get is based on the number of children they have. If the woman has only one child, then the relief amount will be 15% of the income earned by the mother. It goes up by 20% when the woman has her second child and further increases by 25% when the woman has her third child.
The maximum income tax relief for the mother is 60% of her earned income. The percentage does not increase even if the woman has more than three children. This relief exponentially reduces the income tax for working mothers.
If a mother has three or more children who are Singaporean citizens then 60% of her income will not be liable for any income tax. In case the mother decides to stay at home and the father has to keep working then he would have to pay the total tax amount.
Childcare /Infant Care Subsidies
Mothers who work more than 56 hours a week and have a monthly household income of $7500 or less are eligible for additional childcare and infant care subsidies from the government. As only working moms are eligible for these subsidies, only families with stay-at-home dad will be able to enjoy this.
Learn more about childcare and infant care subsidies at ECDA website.
If the mother decides to be the stay-at-home mom then the family will not get these additional subsidies. The subsidies are higher for comparatively higher for infant care as compared to childcare.
Families with monthly household income lower than or equal to $2500 can get an additional childcare benefit of $440 which would make the maximum monthly subsidy of around $740. In case of infant care, if the monthly household income is less than $2500 then the maximum infant care benefit, the family can get is $1140.
Read also: Best Savings Accounts For Kids in Singapore
The Role of Singapore Government in Promoting Gender Equality
In the modern world, people have realized that productivity or efficiency does not depend on gender, instead it depends on professionalism and hard work. Traditionally women have always been paid less as compared to men for the same job.
However, with time, this practice is changing. The government of Singapore is trying its best to close the gender pay gap. This is why working women in Singapore are offered different types of relief.
This has also made it financially more sensible for a family to have a stay-at-home dad than to have a stay-at-home mom because a working father and stay-at-home mom would not be able to enjoy the benefits that a working woman can.
There are few countries in the world whose government is trying their best to form an environment where there is gender equality both at home and in the professional workplace. By creating more attractive opportunities for working women, the government is also urging men to become stay-at- home dads to care of the children and to take care of the house altogether.
It Just Makes More Sense to Have a Stay-at-Home Dad
Becoming a stay-at-home dad does not mean that the dad cannot earn a decent income through ways other than the traditional 9 to 5 job. In the past few years, the gig economy has experienced a massive growth. We have some suggestions on profitable remote jobs here.
This has not only improved productivity for the business but it has also made it easy for the stay-at-home parents to earn decent money while taking care of the house and the kids. In some cases, people working in the gig based economy may be able to earn more than their previous full time job.
The stay-at-home dad can earn through gig based work while the mother works at an office. This way the family will be able to enjoy the benefits offered to the working mothers.
This isn’t just financially sensible, it is actually very lucrative for the family to go down this road. With the flexibility that the gig based work offers, the stay-at-home dad can easily manage the house, kids and work while earning a decent income.
Singapore has one of the best standards of living in the world. However, in the last few years there has been an increase in the cost of living in Singapore. This has made it difficult for families to only rely on a sole income earner.
This is why it is almost necessary for the stay-at-home dad to also find flexible work so that the family can enjoy financial freedom. All of these above mentioned reasons point to how attractive it is for the family to have a stay-at-home dad than to have a stay-at-home mom.
So if you are a working woman in Singapore and you are thinking about quitting your job for your newborn; then it’s time for you to think again.
Sit down with your husband and compare the pros and cons of having a stay-at-home dad verses a stay-at-home mom. You will find that it is financially more attractive for the husband to become the stay-at-home dad.
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