COVID-19: Preschool operators to provide parents 50% fee offset for 1 month

A PCF Sparkletots preschool in Woodlands. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — All preschool operators in Singapore will provide parents offsets for half of their nett fees for one month, for Singaporean children not attending preschool during the COVID-19 circuit breaker period from Tuesday (7 April) to 4 May.

The requirement set by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) comes after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced additional support for workers, businesses and households under the $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget to help tide Singapore through the period.

The offset will be effected from the May invoice for parents, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSFD) in a joint statement on Monday. For example, parents who would normally pay $470 per month will pay $235 for their child’s preschool fees in May. 

Among the measures announced by Heng, the government will enhance the Jobs Support Scheme by raising the wage subsidy for all firms to 75 per cent of gross monthly wages, for the first $4,600 of employees’ wages paid in April. All adult Singaporeans will receive a one-off Solidarity Payment of $600 in cash, with each Singaporean parent getting an additional $300.

In ordinary circumstances, preschools, KCare operators, student care centres (SCCs), special student care centres (SSCCs) and Early Intervention (EI) service providers would find it difficult to offer such fee offsets due to wage and other operating costs, the MSFD and MOE said. 

“However, these are exceptional times and we have reviewed the situation. With further Government support given under the latest Solidarity Budget, as well as MSF’s and ECDA’s continued payment of preschool and student care fee subsidies, with the automatic waiver of minimum attendance for eligibility for subsidies, all preschools, KCare, SCC and SSCC operators and EI service providers should offer fee offsets for the circuit breaker period,” they added.

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