[Newsphopick=Kingsley Lim] Singapore – Singapore extends the Job Support Scheme (JSS) by seven months to increase hiring activity in sectors which are still growing. This extension of the Job Support Scheme is supported by $8 billion worth of measures as the Singapore government continues to aid businesses and workers which have been hit by Covid-19.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced these measures in a ministerial statement on Monday (Aug 17) as he noted that the Singapore business community comprising of workers and employers were evidently anxious regarding the loss of revenue, income and job security amidst these tough times.
The Job Support Scheme includes the support for the creation of new job opportunities and aid for sectors which have been hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The underlying aim – to position Singapore for growth opportunities in a post-coronavirus world.
The Job Support Scheme will be extended by seven months to March 2021. When it was introduced in the first budget in February, the aim of the scheme then, was to protect jobs in all ailing sectors.
So far, the scheme has funded between 25 percent and 75 percent of the first S$4600 of gross monthly wages paid to each Singaporean or permanent resident employee. It was set to expire in after supporting wages for August and had already disbursed payouts in October.
Mr Heng said that the scheme had distributed S$16 billion in payouts and it has helped more than 2 million employees working at over 150,000 firms.
According to Mr Heng, the country had done well despite the coronavirus. While the unemployment rate had risen, it is still below the peak seen in SARS and the global financial crisis in 2008.
The extended JSS scheme will target companies which have been hardest hit by the pandemic. This includes tourism, aerospace and the aviation sectors. These sectors will receive wage subsidies of 50 percent for seven more months.
Other sectors which have been less affected by the coronavirus crisis will receive between 10 to 50 percent in wage subsidies for another seven more months. Sectors such as financial services, ICT and biomedical sciences will receive wage support of 10 percent for four more months till December.
“Even at 10 per cent support, the payouts cover more than half of employers’ CPF (Central Provident Fund) contributions. This ensures that we continue to build up the CPF savings of our workers during the crisis,” said Mr Heng Swee Keat while urging businesses to make use of this additional support to retain and retrain their workers.
According to Mr Heng, all Singaporean employees and self-employed persons who received the Workfare Income Supplement in 2019, will also receive Workfare Special Payment of S$3000 this year.
Me Heng said “I will widen the eligibility of this special payment to include those who were not on Workfare last year but have received or will be receiving Workfare for work done this year.”
He added “Our labour market is likely to remain weak beyond 2020. We are studying how to continue supporting employees and self-employed persons who are most vulnerable.”