Jobs Support Scheme: Helping Employers Keep Your Job
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Jobs Support Scheme: Helping Employers Keep Your Job

Kenneth Fong
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What Is the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)?

Due to the period of reduced business activity caused by COVID-19 and the Circuit Breaker.

The government will co-fund between 25 to 75 per cent of the first $4,600 gross monthly wages paid to each local employee for 10 months.

FYI: your gross monthly wage is the amount you get before deduction of employee CPF contribution and personal income tax

Basically, the JSS is to help your employer keep you employed.

And continue paying you a baseline monthly salary during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Side note: if you’ve lost your job, been placed on involuntary no-pay leave, or had to take a pay cut because of COVID-19.

Did you know that you might be able to qualify for the COIVD-19 Support Grant as well?

Seedly COVID-19 Support Grant

For April and May 2020, all businesses will receive 75 per cent wage support to tide over the Circuit Breaker period.

For the remaining 8 months, businesses will receive wage support according to the tier which they belong to.


TL;DR: How Much Jobs Support Scheme Wage Support Will My Employer Get?

Here’s how much your employer will get based on your gross monthly wage:

Assuming a Gross Monthly Wage ofQualifying Wage
(first $4,600)
Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3
$4,000$4,000$3,000$2,000$1,000
$4,500$4,500$3,375$2,250$1,125
$5,000$4,600$3,450$2,300$1,150

Note: this excludes Payout 1 (April 2020) and the Additional Payout (May 2020) which will be 75% for all businesses

By the way, you’re NOT actually getting extra money with this scheme.

The JSS is meant to help your employers retain you as an employee.

And pay you a baseline monthly salary.

FYI: the next JSS Payout will be disbursed on 28 May 2020 via GIRO and PayNow Corporate, and from early June via cheques.

MOM Guidelines For Salary and Leave Arrangements

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recommends that all businesses should use the 75 per cent JSS wage support for April and May.

To keep all employees and avoid resorting to retrenchment or extended no-pay leave as a cost-saving measure.

On top of that, this is their recommended salary and leave arrangement during Circuit Breaker (7 April to 1 June 2020).

 Gross monthly salary
(up to $4,600)
Gross monthly salary
(more than $4,600)
Employee is working from homeContinue to pay prevailing salaries including employer's CPF contributionsUse JSS payout to provide baseline monthly salary including employer's CPF contributions

AND

Provide for work done on a pro rata basis (subject to a cap of employee's prevailing salary)
Employer does not assign work to employeeUse JSS payout to provide baseline monthly salary including employer's CPF contributions

If there is any shortfall in your income after implementing the above-recommended salary arrangements, your employer should consider the following measures:

  • Send you for training courses approved for Absentee Payroll Funding so that overall salary paid during the training period is mostly supported by the Government
  • Apply for Flexible Work Schedule which allows “time banking” of additional salary payments to offset overtime payments in the future
  • Grant additional paid leave
  • Allow you to consume your existing leave entitlements

[UPDATE] Fortitude Budget: Enhancements to the JSS

As announced during the Fortitude Budget, a total of $2.9 billion will be used to enhance the JSS.

On top of that, here are the other changes:

1) Top-Up of Support for All Firms in May 2020

To support firms during Circuit Breaker.

Wage support for April and May 2020 will be topped-up to 75 per cent for all firms.

2) JSS Support for Phased Reopening Post-Circuit Breaker

Employers not allowed to resume operations will continue to receive 75 per cent wage support for the period they are not allowed to resume operations or until August 2020, whichever is earlier.

Employers allowed to resume operations will revert to the base tier of support.

3) Update of List of Severely-Affected Sectors

How much support your employer will get depends on which sector you’re in:

JSS SupportEligible SectorEligible FirmsAdditional Eligible Firms
(after Fortitude Budget)
Tier 1

75% of first $4,600 gross monthly wages
Aviation and AerospaceAirlines

Airport ground handlers

Airport operators
Aerospace maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operators

Aerospace manufacturing operators

Major suppliers of parts and services for aerospace MROs and manufacturers

Airline fleet management services operators

Operators providing training for pilots and crews
Tourism, Hospitality, Conventions and ExhibitionsQualifying licensed hotels

Qualifying licensed travel agents

Qualifying gated tourist attractions

Cruise lines and Cruise terminal operators

Purpose-built Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) venue operators
MICE and tourism event organisers

Money changers

Regional ferry operators

IRAS-certified central refund agencies
Tier 1
(Jun to Aug only)

75% of first $4,600 gross monthly wages
Built Environment-Built Environment contractors

Built Environment consultants
Tier 2

50% of first $4,600 gross monthly wages
Food ServicesLicensed food shops and food stalls (including hawkers)-
Retail-Qualifying retail outlets
Art and Entertainment-Cinema operators

Film distributors

Arts and Culture organisations
Land Transport-Rail operators

Point-to-Point transport operators

Private bus and limousine operators
Marine and Offshore-Marine and Offshore
Tier 3

25% of first $4,600 gross monthly wages
All other sectorsAll other employers-

This update will also be applied retrospectively to previous payouts.

So if your sector has now been deemed to be directly and severely affected by COVID-19.

Your employer will receive a top-up of the previous payouts by July 2020.

So… Who Qualifies for the Jobs Support Scheme?

All employers who have made CPF contributions for their resident employees (Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident) will qualify for the JSS Payout.

Employees who are shareholders and directors of a company will also be covered if they are also salaried employees of the company and have an assessable income of $100,000 or less for the Year of Assessment of 2019.

Note: the Additional Payout (May 2020) will include a back-payment for these employees who were excluded in Payout 1 (April 2020) as they were previously considered business owners

Business owners, including sole proprietors and partners of general partnership, limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships, are not eligible.

Employers who trade in their own capacity — such as hawkers or those hiring personal drivers and domestic helpers — who do not have UEN, are also not eligible.

.

.

.

It’s your livelihood that’s at stake.

So if your employer is unsure whether the business qualifies for the JSS…

Let them know that they can check their JSS Employer Eligibility to see whether they qualify and how much JSS wage support they can get!

Do I Need to Apply for the Jobs Support Scheme?

No.

As an employee, you can’t do it anyways.

Your employers do NOT need to apply for it either.

As long as your employer makes CPF contributions for you.

IRAS will notify them via post of the tier which their business belongs to as well as how much JSS Payout they will receive.

When Will My Employer Receive the Jobs Support Scheme Payout?

Your employer will receive 4 JSS payouts in total.

These payouts will be disbursed in:

  • April (Payout 1)
  • May (Additional Payout)
  • July (Payout 2)
  • October (Payout 3)

Note: the Additional Payout in May was added to provide more support after the announcement of the Circuit Breaker extension

Er… So How Much Will I Actually Get?

The April and May Payouts will be calculated based on your wages for October and November 2019, respectively.

Whereas the July and October 2020 Payouts will be adjusted to account for actual wages paid in April and May 2020.

If you prefer looking at things in a table, here’s how the JSS Payouts are calculated for Tier 3 sectors:

Date of JSS PayoutPayout Amount
(calculated on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages)
Payout 1
(Apr 2020)
75% of Oct 2019 wages

+ 25% of Nov 2019 wages

+ 25% of Dec 2019 wages
Additional Payout
(May 2020)
75% of Nov 2019 wages
Payout 2
(Jul 2020)
25% of Feb 2020 wages

+ 25% of Mar 2020 wages

+ (75% of Apr 2020 wages - 50% of Oct 2019 wages)
Payout 3
(Oct 2020)
(75% of May 2020 wages - 75% of Nov 2019 wages)*

+ 25% of Jun 2020 wages

+ 25% of Jul 2020 wages

*Any negative quantum for a single employee will be deducted from the overall JSS payout for the employer

SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star Thinking Hard
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Too cheem?

I’m gonna simplify it even further.

Let’s assume that you’re a local employee who’s been employed in a Tier 3 sector since October 2019.

And your gross monthly income is $3,000.

Scenario 1: Your Employer Keeps You Employed and Pays You A Regular Wage in April and May 2020

You’ll be getting:

MonthGross Monthly Wage
Feb 2020$3,000
Mar 2020
Apr 2020
May 2020
Jun 2020 and beyond

Note: obviously if your company is doing well or you’re due for a yearly increment, then you should negotiate a pay raise that is within reason of course

If you’re wondering how your employer manages to pay you despite business being so cui (Hokkien: bad).

Here’s how much JSS Payout they’re receiving for keeping you as an employee:

Date of JSS PayoutPayout Amount
(calculated on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages)
Payout 1
(Apr 2020)
$3,750
Additional Payout
(May 2020)
$2,250
Payout 2
(Jul 2020)
$2,250
Payout 3
(Oct 2020)
$1,500

I know.

I KNOW.

You’re probably looking at the Payout 1 (April 2020) and are wondering why you don’t get to keep the additional $750.

SpongeBob Seething
Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Chill bruv.

While the JSS wage support is based on a percentage of employees’ monthly wages.

Employers have the flexibility to allocate the JSS subsidies to keep the business running in order to retain employees.

So… yeah.

No matter what, the JSS is meant to help your employer pay you a baseline monthly salary.

Or to at least ensure you have a job…

Scenario 2: Your Employer Puts You on No-Pay Leave for April and May 2020

If your employer decides to put you on no-pay leave for April and May 2020, you’ll be getting:

MonthGross Monthly Wage
Feb 2020$3,000
Mar 2020
Apr 2020$0
May 2020
Jun 2020 and beyond$3,000

I know.

That sucks.

But it affects your employer too.

And here’s how much JSS payout they would receive:

Date of JSS PayoutPayout Amount
(calculated on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages)
Payout 1
(Apr 2020)
$3,750
Additional Payout
(May 2020)
$2,250
Payout 2
(Jul 2020)
$0
Payout 3
(Oct 2020)
-$750

You probably noticed the $750 that will be deducted from Payout 3.

More on that in a bit.

So… What Does All of This Mean for Me and My Employer?

Many employers have had their businesses affected by the Circuit Breaker.

And they would have worked out cost-saving measures (for eg. asking employees to take no pay leave) to save jobs.

But as I explained earlier, the Jobs Support Scheme is meant to help employers retain and continue paying their local employees EVEN during Circuit Breaker.

Looking at the above illustration, you might want to bring a couple of things up to your employer’s attention.

1) A Pay Cut Will Lead to a Smaller Payout

This is a pretty duh thing.

Show them how the JSS Payouts are calculated and they should get it.

If they don’t, rope in HR, Finance, Accounts or whoever is better with numbers to explain this REALLY important concept.

This should make them think twice about using pay cuts as a cost-saving measure.

2) April’s Decisions Will Have a Significant Impact

If your employer, unfortunately, chooses to lay off an employee in say… April 2020.

It might result in a negative quantum because the employee’s original salary will be taken into consideration for Payout 2 in July.

Beyond that, it’ll lead to an adjustment in Payout 3 in October too.

Or taken out from the overall payout they’ll receive from the JSS (read: deducted from the payouts of other employees).

MOM Guidelines For Employers

Okay.

PAY ATTENTION HERE.

Besides the JSS, MOM has a few guidelines for employers during Circuit Breaker (7 April to 1 June 2020) too.

This is their recommended salary and leave arrangement:

 Gross monthly salary
(up to $4,600)
Gross monthly salary
(more than $4,600)
Employee is working from homeContinue to pay prevailing salaries including employer's CPF contributionsUse JSS payout to provide baseline monthly salary including employer's CPF contributions

AND

Provide for work done on a pro rata basis (subject to a cap of employee's prevailing salary)
Employer does not assign work to employeeUse JSS payout to provide baseline monthly salary including employer's CPF contributions

If there is any shortfall after implementing the above-recommended salary arrangements, your employer should consider the following measures:

  • Send you for training courses approved for Absentee Payroll Funding so that overall salary paid during the training period is mostly supported by the Government
  • Apply for Flexible Work Schedule which allows “time banking” of additional salary payments to offset overtime payments in the future
  • Grant additional paid leave
  • Allow you to consume your existing leave entitlements

Where possible, your employer should also allow and support you to take on a second job (part-time or temporary) in companies or agencies that continue to operate during Circuit Breaker.

Seedly Second Job Arrangements COVID-19

This will allow you to make up for your loss of income and help make your life easier during this COVID-19 pandemic.

REITs Tool

About Kenneth Fong
Editor of Seedly's blog. Owner of a 4-room HDB BTO and married to a financial clutz. Probably the closest to an adult you can find on the Seedly team.
You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth Fong here.

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!

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