SINGAPORE, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Singapore government is extending the provisions on infant care and childcare leaves to cover single parents, Acting Social and Family Development Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Thursday.
The working single parents will receive the same benefits as their married counterparts starting from May 1 this year. They will be entitled to six days of childcare leave a year for children below seven years of age, and two days for those with children aged between seven and 12.
Single unwed parents will enjoy six days of unpaid infant care leave, too, if they have a child below the age of two.
Singapore is a relatively conservative society where it is still not very accepted socially for children to be born out of the wedlock, though the number is believed to be increasingly significant. Currently, working single parents are entitled to only two days of childcare leave for children aged seven and below.
Chan said the move is aimed to give unwed single parents better support.
He said he appreciated the push by lawmakers to speak up on behalf of the single parents.
"We understand and we appreciate that many of these families need additional support, especially single mothers," he said. "But single mothers are not a uniform group -- there are unwed single mothers, there are divorced single mothers, there are widowed single mothers."
Chan said his ministry will also develop more support programs for vulnerable families, including single parent families.