Rising social inequalities and an uncertain economic climate are fraying social compact and fracturing modern societies. As social safety nets hang in the balance, governments must create the right conditions for growth to ensure that no one gets left behind. With a goal to empower all Singaporeans with equal access to opportunities towards a fairer and more inclusive society, Budget 2023 lays out key initiatives to help uplift the lives of young families, low-income households and low-wage workers alike.
Read on to find out how Singapore can continuously shape and sustain a society of opportunities for every Singaporean.
Housing young hopes
Securing a home amid rising property prices continues to be a key concern for young couples in Singapore as they set out to navigate family journeys of their own. Providing accesible housing grants can help first-time buyers offset their flat purchase price and reduce their mortgage loans.
Families with children and young married couples aged 40 and below looking to purchase their first home will also benefit from additional support. They will be given additional ballot chances for their Build-to-Order (BTO) flat applications starting later this year.
Eligible first-timer families looking to buy a resale flat as their first home will also receive more support through an increase in the the Central Provident Fund Housing Grant. For those buying a two-to four-room resale flat, the grant will increase by S$30,000. Those purchasing five-room or larger flats will benefit from a S$10,000 increase.
Cradling the future
To strengthen support for Singaporeans on their parenthood journey, the government will be raising the Baby Bonus cash gift by S$3,000 for all eligible children born from 14 February 2023, with the disbursement period expected to be extended.
The Child Development Account, which parents can use to offset preschool and healthcare expenses, will also be increased by S$2,000 for all children born from 14 February 2023.
Government-paid paternity leave will be doubled from two weeks to four weeks for children born on or after 1 January 2024. The extra two weeks will be given on a voluntary basis for a start, depending on employers. Parents of young children will also soon be able to take more days of unpaid infant care leave, which will be doubled from the current six days a year.
Career support for seniors
To tap the skills and expertise of older workers, the Singapore government will extend its support for wage offsets and employment grants for senior workers across different sectors.
The Senior Employment Credit, which provides wage offsets to employers who hire senior workers, and the Part-time Re-employment Grant, which encourages employers to offer part-time re-employment and flexible work arrangements to senior workers, will be extended to 2025.