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    Mar 02, 2015

    Families can help housewives 'reap benefits' from CPF

    THE People's Action Party (PAP) Women's Wing yesterday called for more support for stay-home mothers with little savings in their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts.

    Issuing a 10-point response to last Monday's Budget announcement, the group - chaired by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Grace Fu - said it is "especially concerned" that housewives do not get to fully benefit from the CPF system.

    "A sensible approach is for their husbands to make regular voluntary top-ups to their CPF accounts; likewise for their adult working children," the statement said. "We urge the Government to raise awareness of the benefits of such top-ups and the availability of Giro transfer options."

    Likewise, more efforts should be made to help housewives take advantage of the SkillsFuture programmes to encourage lifelong education and training. The group suggested more e-learning options that stay-home mothers can access from home, so that they can keep their skills updated and remain employable.

    Meanwhile, families also play an important role in creating a supportive ecosystem, the statement said, suggesting partial transfers of unused SkillsFuture Credits by husbands and children, so that their housewives and mothers can pursue training.

    All Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive $500 in SkillsFuture Credit from next year, with more top-ups to come, to offset the cost of upgrading.

    The group also urged the Government to continue raising the quality and affordability of pre-school education and childcare services.

    "It remains challenging for women to juggle both work and family commitments," it said, adding that accessibility is still an issue in some new towns with a concentration of young parents.

    "The Housing Board should do more to help young couples stay close to their parents so that there is greater familial support in raising children."

    The suggestions were put forward by activists at a special meeting convened by the PAP Women's Wing on Saturday to discuss retirement adequacy for women in Singapore.

    Parliament will debate the Budget from tomorrow.