1 of 3 childcare centres in Singapore located at workplaces

1 of 3 childcare centres in Singapore located at workplaces

Preschool teacher
A file photo of a pre-school teacher with her class. (Photo: AFP) 

SINGAPORE: There are about 470 childcare centres located in workplaces, such as commercial premises, government buildings and industrial estates, as of June.

These make up about one-third of all childcare centres in Singapore, said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 3).

He was responding to a question from Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah about the number of workplaces that have childcare centres on their premises. Dr Lee also wanted to know whether the ministry will encourage companies of a certain staff size to provide on-site childcare facilities.

Mr Lee said a variety of factors determine whether an employer would consider setting up a childcare centre on its premises.

Apart from the number of employees, other factors include the profile of employees, the employees’ preferences in the location of care services, the location of the workplace and business viability of a childcare centre.

Measures are already in place to help developers and employers set up workplace-based childcare centres, he said.

For one, the Community and Sports Facilities Scheme provides bonus gross floor area to developers that set aside space in commercial buildings for childcare centres. 

The Enhanced Workplace Child Care Centre Scheme gives eligible workplace centres a furnishing and equipment grant, as well as a development grant to cover the costs of converting work spaces for childcare use.

For new commercial developments, the Early Childhood Development Agency has worked with the Urban Redevelopment Authority to require developers for selected Government Land Sale sites to provide space for childcare centres.

But Mr Lee noted many parents still prefer childcare centres to be located near their homes. As such, he added that the Government will continue to ramp up the number of childcare places, especially at new HDB residential developments.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong earlier announced in his National Day Rally speech that an additional 40,000 pre-school places will be created over the next five years.

Source: CNA/sk