In May, wage support for businesses in Singapore will be extended in response to the extension of the circuit breaker measures to June to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages of 1.9 million local workers will be subsidised 75 per cent by the Government under the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Tuesday (21 April) that the support will be extended until next month in line with the Government’s extension of strict movement restrictions until 1 June.
Other existing measures that will be extended until next month will support businesses. These include a S$750 rebate for each Work Permit of S Pass holder businesses employed as well as the waiving of foreign worker levies for businesses.
In addition, the new COVID-19 Support Grant will be introduced by the Government starting May. The grant will provide S$800 monthly grant for three months for those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. More details on how to apply will be provided by the Ministry of Social and Family Development soon.
According to Mr Heng, it will cost the Government S$3.8 billion in total to finance the added support to aid Singaporeans through the extra four weeks of safe distancing measures. This latest fiscal stimulus will add to the S$59.9 billion already deployed by the Government to combat the pandemic and the economic impact.
Employers have been urged by Mr Heng to make full use of the various grants for training and improving corporate capabilities as well as retaining their workers.
“The months of April and May – this will be a test of our resilience as individuals and as a society,” said Mr Heng.
“We cannot be certain when the crisis will end. But what is certain is that we are here for you and we will support you,” he added.
The Finance Ministry explained that employers will not get wage support under enhanced JSS for the affected workers if they put local workers on mandatory no-pay leave or retrench them.
Besides that, employees who are directors and shareholders of their companies will also be included under the enhanced JSS scheme. Eligible employees must have an assessable income of S$100,000 or less in 2019, and their companies must be registered on or before 20 April this year.
According to Mr Heng, the Ministry foresees this group of people to be around 50,000 individuals. Before this, they had not qualified for the JSS nor the income relief schemes for the self-employed.