Singapore Extends Job Support Scheme: Businesses Receive Tiered Wage Subsidies
Singapore’s government has extended its Job Support Scheme (JSS) on August 17, 2020 for a further seven months until March 2021.
The extension comes with amendments to the original JSS structure and will now be divided into three separate tiers. The level and duration of wage subsidies each employer receives will depend on the business sector they operate in as well as the projected recovery of that business sector. Every business sector will be classified into a specific tier.
The JSS was issued in the 2020 Budget and enables the government to co-fund between 25 to 75 percent on the first S$4,600 (US$3,360) of monthly wages for every local worker. Over S$16 billion (US$11.6 billion) of JSS payouts have been disbursed since February of this year, benefiting more than 150,000 firms and two million local workers.
Sectors classified as Tier 1, will be eligible to receive 50 percent of wage subsidy support on the first S$4,600 (US$3,360) of gross monthly wages, starting from September 2020. This is a reduction from the original 75 percent wage subsidy provided from February to August of this year.
Notable sectors under Tier 1 are:
Built environment sector.
Businesses in the built environment sector will receive Tier 1 support until October 2020, from when they will receive Tier 2 support.
Firms that are still unable to resume on-site operations will continue to receive Tier 1 support until they are allowed to re-open, or until March 2021, whichever comes first.
Businesses in sectors classified as Tier 2 are eligible to receive 30 percent of wage subsidy support on the first S$4,600 (US$3,360) of gross monthly wages, starting from September 2020. This is a reduction from the original 50 percent wage subsidy granted between February to August of this year.
Notable sectors under Tier 2 are:
Arts and entertainment;
Food services and retail;
Land transport; and
Marine and offshore
Most other sectors will receive Tier 3 support, which comprises of a 10 percent wage subsidy support, also starting from September 2020.
Businesses in sectors that have managed well during the pandemic, notably in Information Communication Technology (ICT), financial services, biomedical sciences, postal and courier, online retail, and supermarkets and convenience stores will also receive Tier 3 support – however, this is only until December 2020.
Businesses should contact registered local advisors to better understand how they can benefit from the JSS extension.
Extension of the COVID-19 support grant
In addition to extending the JSS, the government has also extended the COVID-19 Support grant (SCG) until December 2020.
The SCG was introduced in May 2020 and provides up to S$800 (US$585) per month for three months to unemployed Singaporeans. From October 2020, existing and new applicants can begin applying for the grant, although unemployed applicants will need to demonstrate that they are actively searching for work or are in training to be eligible.
Widening of the workfare special payment criteria
The criteria for the workfare special payment scheme has been widened to include more people in the lower-income bracket. The scheme allows lower-income workers to receive S$3,000 (US$2,190) cash payout, which is given in two equal payments in July and October 2020.
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