So I’ve left full time employment last month and haven’t found anything. It is a tough job market with employers being spoilt for choice so who wants to hire a mother who needs to rush to arrange for alternative childcare whenever she has to work overtime? So my solution for the time being is to do some trading activities (no, nothing as glamorous as trading stocks and bonds. Just good old importing of stuff to sell on Qoo10 and Carousell) and to set up a books and learning material subscription business. However, I soon ran into problems with my child’s childcare centre, who insists that I need to declare myself as ‘non-working mother’ status, which means my basic subsidy would be cut from $300 to $150.
When questioned further, the childcare told me that ‘that’s the authorities’ policy’. That was quite a blow to me. Hey I have just
lost my job (ok technically I resigned on my own) and the authorities are pushing me deeper into the grave by raising my cost? That’s not too nice. I then explained to the childcare’s admin that I am actually working from home doing business setup, I was then advised to do a statutory declaration at Supreme Court. So these are the things I learnt from the experience:
Regarding subsidies: Singaporeans are entitled to a basic subsidy of $150. If the mother is working more than 56 hours a month, the total basic subsidy you get is $300. If your household income is lesser than $7500 a month, you can apply for additional subsidy. The amount you can get is unclear to me because it wasn’t mentioned anywhere but you can estimate it using a calculator on the ECDA website… even the basic subsidy amount was unclear to me when I read the website. But the above figures were what I gathered after poring through the website.
Regarding part time/freelance/self-employed: You can prove your income using your IRAS statement, and for those who don’t have that or are just starting a business, you can go to Supreme Court to do a statutory declaration. It’s located on the third floor, all the way inside the building. You can just walk in, pay $25 to do the declaration and bring it to the childcare centre. If you are starting a business, you are likely going to be asked by the authorities (ie. ECDA) for your ACRA registration, as they did with me.
Long story short, that was my experience. Having a child in childcare and then losing your job is quite a troublesome thing, because of the rule that working mothers get more subsidies. I cannot fully understand that rule when I look at it from a social perspective, because if the mother is not working or unable to find something, wouldn’t the family need more help? But looking at it from an economic perspective, I can understand why… because having such a rule will drive mothers towards employment, which can then increase Singapore’s GDP. Just that during a period of tough economic condition, it feels like the rules are just out there to do us in. Things are really tough enough as it is, but I guess if policymakers aren’t experiencing it, they might not realise it. That said, they do have appeal forms for you to indicate extenuating conditions, so perhaps that’s how they administer the rule from a social perspective.