THE government should inject HK$850 million to support childcare services to ease parents’ burden and raise productivity, the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre said.
About 115,000 children aged below six would benefit under a support package that includes a childcare services voucher, increasing ‘extended hours service’ places and allowing tax deductions for childcare.
The think tank suggested five measures that would allow mothers to enter the labour market.
The HK$340 million means-tested ‘Child care service voucher’ will provide financial support to needy families, with about 50 percent of parents expected to be eligible.
A means-tested HK$120 million pilot scheme of ‘Carer Supplement with HK$2,000 per child per month’ is suggested to provide direct financial support to families who have a child aged up to two and a household income which is 75 percent below the median monthly domestic household income in Hong Kong. A report by the foundation suggested easing the burden of the middle class by providing tax deductions for childcare expenses.
Foundation senior manager Agnes Ching Yin-fong (程燕芳) said they wanted to fix the problems in four directions: commitment from government, raising supply, increasing talent in the childcare industry and changing people’s mindset.
The proposal also suggested providing more training for babysitters, promoting gender equality and urging men to take part equally in childcare.
(The Standard, 24 April 2015)