By SY Lee and Leong Sze Hian
When we read a facebook post showing the increase in childcare fees’ schedule of one of Singapore’s largest childcare operators – the first thought that came to our mind was how affordable is it for middle income families?
The full-day childcare fee will increase from next year, from $1,310.75 to $1,342.85.
Middle-income family pays $733 after subsidies?
According to childcarelink’s web site – a family with household income of $3,501 (income range $3,501 to $4,000) would have to pay a net fee of $732.85 ($1,342.85 less $300 basic subsidy less $310 additional subsidy).
How affordable is childcare?
How affordable is this for a family of 3 with gross household income of $3,501 ($2,800.80 after employee 20% CPF contribution)?
Increase subsidy, increase fees?
What’s the point of increasing the subsidy for childcare fees, when the fees increase such that even middle income families may find it a stretch to pay the net fees?
416,500 workers earn less than $1,500?
In this connection of earning power, according to the Yearbook of Manpower Statistics 2014 released on 30 June 2014 – there were 44,300 residents earning (gross monthly income from work excluding employer CPF contribution) less than $500, 207,100 earning less than $1,000, and 416,900 earning less than $1,500.
400,000 earn less than a month’s childcare fees?
So, to put the childcare fees increase in perspective – does it mean that about 400,000 people may earn less than or around the monthly childcare fee of $1,342.85?
What kind of a country have we become, such that about 20% of the total workforce earns just as much as a month’s childcare fees in a basic childcare centre?
Since the additional subsidy only applies for Singaporeans – the burden on lower and middle income permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners may be even greater.