develop_region: 
Unknown
iso2: 
SG
iso3: 
SGP
Continent: 
Asia
Official name: 
Republic of Singapore

Weekly Social Protection Links: March 27

A new wage offset scheme, alongside enhancements to an existing training grant, will be introduced to enhance the employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs), said Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Tuesday (Mar 3). First announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during the Budget statement last month, the new Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) will be available from 2021 to 2025 at a cost of about S$31 million a year.

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It is a universal assumption that mothers are the ones who take care of children, but more fathers are now taking time off to look after their new-born babies and their partners, soon after childbirth. Countries worldwide are setting benchmarks for policies to support men’s involvement in parenting with a focus on paternity leave. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 90 out of 138 countries offer statutory paid paternity leave, citing a study by Promundo, a United States (US) based organisation promoting gender equality.

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OPINION: The benefits of paternity leave are well-documented. When fathers equally share the duties of rearing newborns with mothers, family bonds are strengthened and all involved are healthier and happier. That, in turn, flows through to society and the economy, bridging gender and pay gaps and for nations with fast ageing populations, providing the conditions to boost flagging birth rates. But laws mandating time off work and incentives are not enough; there also has to be wide societal and cultural acceptance.

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Singapore is ranked 20th among 82 economies for social mobility, but among South-east Asian nations, it is in the top spot, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week. Still, the Republic did especially well in health and education, coming up tops for inequality-adjusted healthy life expectancy, learning outcomes and the low proportion of disadvantaged students who reported lacking education material.

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Labour migration is a key feature of the ASEAN labour market and is expected to continue to increase over the coming years. It has a significant economic impact on individuals, households and countries of destination and origin. Yet, access to social protection for migrant workers remains limited due to lack of portability arrangements, legislative barriers, discrimination, and poor compliance with existing social security laws. This report provides an overview of the developments, challenges, and prospects of social protection for migrant workers in ASEAN.

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Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said yesterday (10/09) the new Enhanced CPF Housing Grant (EHG), which streamlines two older grants, gives couples more flexibility in affording a flat that suits their needs. It helps the authorities meet the growing demand for homes without building new flats. The incentive structure has been changed to make it attractive to buy resale flats and there are also no more restrictions on buyers' choice of flat type and location.

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OPINION: Countries in ASEAN have achieved strong economic growth and substantially reduced poverty over the past 20 years. Deep political commitment to effective policies has lifted over 100 million people out of poverty since 2000. ASEAN as a whole has been a standout success story in its overall development. Yet on average, education, skill development and health indicators are below what is expected given ASEAN’s income levels. Protecting ASEAN’s impressive gains over the past two decades will require prioritizing investments in people — that is, human capital.

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It shows progress in expenditure, primarily driven by social insurance and coverage between 2009 and 2015. Spending on women has improved in several countries, yet others continued to favor the nonpoor over the poor, and men over women. The Social Protection Index—now the Social Protection Indicator—was developed by the Asian Development Bank and its partners as the first comprehensive and quantitative measure of social protection systems in Asia and the Pacific.

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Singapore extended support for older workers in the ageing island nation as the current leadership prepares to hand over to a new generation in the next few years. The retirement age will be gradually raised to 65 from 62. The city-state will also increase pension-contribution rates for workers so that by 2030, any worker age 60 or below will get the full rate.

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