It doesn’t seem like this nightmare of a year is going to end anytime soon.
What’s great is that the Singapore Government intends to provide continued support for workers and jobs.
In the form of $8 billion.
I know what you’re thinking.
The funds will NOT be drawn from our Past Reserves.
Rather, they will be reallocated from other areas, such as development expenditures, which were delayed due to COVID-19.
If you missed DPM and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat’s ministerial statement.
Here’s how the Government plans to continue supporting workers, businesses, and protect livelihoods.
TL;DR: Continued Government Support for Workers and Jobs
The Singapore government plans to provide continued support through 3 key strategies:
Support and create jobs
- Extension of Jobs Support Scheme till March 2021
- Launch of Jobs Growth Initiative Programme (worth $1 billion)
- Extension of COVID-19 Support Grant till December 2020
- Widen eligibility of Workfare Special Payment
Provide more support for hardest-hit sectors
- Injection of an additional $187 million to the Enhanced Aviation Support Package
- $320 million worth of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers
Transform our economy to position for growth
- Set aside $150 million to enhance Startup SG Founders Programme
1) Continue to Support and Create Jobs
Extension of Jobs Support Scheme
The earlier announced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which will cover wages until August 2020.
Has seen over $16 billion disbursed to support 2 million local workers in more than 150,000 firms.
As a result, we’ve been able to keep the unemployment rate to below peak levels seen during SARS and the Global Financial Crisis.
So what’s new?
DPM Heng announced that the JSS will be extended by up to 7 months, until March 2021.
The extended support will also be tiered according to how badly a sector has been hit by COVID-19.
|JSS Wage Support
|Period of Support
|Sep 2020 to Mar 2021
|Sep 2020 to Oct 2020
|Nov 2020 to Mar 2021
|Arts & Entertainment
Marine & Offshore
|Sep 2020 to Mar 2021
|All other sectors
|Sep 2020 to Mar 2021
Note: sectors like Biomedical Sciences, Financial Services, and ICT sectors will receive JSS support until Dec 2020
The tiered support was decided as JSS draws heavily on reserves and risks trapping workers in unviable businesses.
But more importantly, with this extension, severely hit sectors like aerospace, aviation, and tourism will receive the most help.
And overall, most businesses will receive wage support, ranging from 10 to 75 per cent, for up to 17 months.
Jobs Growth Initiative (JGI) Launched
$1 billion will be set aside to help firms to hire more local workers over the next 6 months.
This initiative involves the co-payment of up to 25 per cent of wages of all new local hires for one year, subject to a cap.
The co-payment will be up to 50 per cent of wages for new local hires who are 40 years and above.
Extension of COVID-19 Support Grant
The COVID-19 Support Grant will be extended until December 2020.
From 1 October 2020, the extension will be opened to both existing recipients and new recipients.
To qualify, unemployed applicants must demonstrate job search or training efforts.
We’ll update once the Ministry of Social and Family Development shares more details in September 2020.
Widen Eligibility of Workfare Special Payment
More help will be given to low-wage workers too.
The $3,000 Workfare Special Payment (WSP) was previously announced for those on Workfare Income Supplement Scheme, for work done in 2019.
To provide more help to low-wage workers, the eligibility of this WSP will be widened to include those who were not on Workfare last year.
But have received or will be receiving Workfare for work done in 2020.
2) Provide More Support for Hardest Hit Sectors
Further support will be given to the aviation, aerospace, and tourism sectors.
Enhanced Aviation Support Package
An additional $187 million will be injected to extend support measures up to March 2021.
Beneficiaries include airlines, ground handlers, cargo agents, and airport tenants.
For workers who cannot work for now, they will continue to be redeployed to other areas.
Such as the redeployment of some 500 aircrew to hospitals for non-clinical work.
A total of 4,000 new jobs will be created in the healthcare sector.
And many more will be created in other areas of need.
$320 million will be set aside for tourism credits which Singaporeans can use to support local tourism.
Local consumption will not make up for the loss in tourism revenue.
But this will be a unique opportunity for Singaporeans to explore Singapore.
We’ll update once the Ministry of Trade and Industry shares more details in September 2020.
3) Transform Our Economy to Position for Growth
To transform and reimagine our economy for a post-COVID-19 world.
Startup SG Founder Programme
Up to $150 million will be used to enhance the Startup SG Founder Programme.
Enhancements include raising the startup capital grant and providing mentorship.
We’ll update once the Ministry of Trade and Industry will provide more details this week.
Note: this is on top of the $8.3 billion already set aside over 3 years to support Singapore’s Transformation and Growth strategy.