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Unwed mothers can rejoice as they will finally get the same 16-week maternity leave that other mothers get, with their children also getting a Child Development Account (CDA). CDA helps pay for childcare and healthcare needs for the child.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin announced on Tuesday (April 12) the extension of these benefits – currently applicable only for married parents – to unmarried mothers and their children. However, these leave benefits will only kick in from early next year as Parliament “will need to amend legislation to make this happen”, according to Mr Tan. Children born to unwed mothers will likely be included in the Child Development Account scheme from the third-quarter of 2016, he added.

Explaining the changes, Mr Tan said: “I feel that we can do more to support their efforts to care for their children, and reduce the disadvantages that their children may face at birth.” He added: “I, too, am sympathetic to this group. Unwed parents may be vulnerable if they are younger and lower-educated. Some may have been rejected by their own families. It can be difficult to raise a child single-handedly, without family support. Some may have hoped to have a child within marriage, but ended up as unwed parents by circumstances.”

Currently, unwed mothers are entitled to only eight weeks of paid maternity leave and their children do not qualify for Child Development Accounts. The Government matches deposits made by parents into these accounts up to $6,000.

Unwed parents will now be able to enjoy what they were previously.

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