Jobs Support Scheme Will Be Extended To Mar 2021, New Jobs Growth Incentive To Encourage Local Hires

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered a ministerial statement on Monday (17 Aug), on more measures the Government is taking to support workers and businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the most significant measures is that the Government will extend the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) by 7 months to March 2021.

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JSS to cover wages till March 2021

To further protect jobs, the extension of the JSS by up to 7 months will cover wages paid up to March 2021.

Over $16 billion in payouts under the JSS have been sent out since the start of the pandemic, said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

This has benefited more than 2 million local workers in more than 150,000 companies.

Currently, it lasts till the end of this month.

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Support to vary by sector

Depending on the sector, the level of support will be adjusted.

Sectors that will get 50% wage support for the full period are those that are badly hit by the pandemic, like the aviation, aerospace, and tourism sectors.

The built environment sector will also get 50% wage support, but only till Nov, when it will drop to 30% till Mar 2021.

Other badly affected sectors like arts and entertainment, food services, land transport, marine and offshore, and retail will get 30% wage support for the full period.

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Sectors that are managing well in the pandemic will also get support. These include the biomedical sciences, financial services, and ICT. So they’ll get just 10% wage support, and until Dec only.

All other sectors will be 10% wage support for the full period.

The Ministry of Finance outlined these in a Facebook post after the statement. More information can be found at http://go.gov.sg/jssaug2020.

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Most businesses to get 17 months’ wage support

With the extended JSS, most business will be helped in keeping as many workers as possible on the payroll, said Mr Heng.

The total wage support will last for some 17 months, and range from 10% to 75%, he added.

He said companies should use the support to not just to retain workers, but to upskill them and change their operating model to better deal with the post-Covid-19 period.

Here’s a summary of the extended JSS:

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New Jobs Growth Incentive

The Government will also encourage companies to hire more local workers over the next 6 months with the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI).

The scheme will support the creation of new jobs in growing sectors, especially mature workers.

It will cost about $1 billion.

Mr Heng highlighted some sectors that need more workers are:

  1. Biomedical sciences
  2. Financial services
  3. Infocomm and technology
  4. Public healthcare and long-term care
  5. F&B and manufacturing, which are promoting innovations

Thus, for these companies, the Government will pay up to 25% of the salaries of new Singaporean hire for 1 year — though there’ll be a cap.

The Government’s salary payment rises to 50% if the new Singaporean hire is aged 40 and above.

More details on the JGI will be released by the Ministry of Manpower this month.

Covid-19 Support Grant also extended

The Covid-19 Support Grant (CSG), which helps Singaporeans who are jobless or who have lost significant income, will also be extended, Mr Heng said.

Both existing CSG beneficiaries and new applicants can benefit from the extension, will which be to Dec 2020.

Those without jobs have to show that they have been looking for a job or undergoing training.

More than 60,000 residents have already received the benefits, and more than $90 million has been given out, Mr Heng said.

The Ministry of Social and Family Development will provide more details in early September.

Global economy still weak

The Covid-19 situation in Singapore is under control, Mr Heng said, but the global economy is very weak.

Thus, recovery will depend on how well other countries contain Covid-19, he added.

The global economy is projected to contract by 5% this year and Singapore experienced its worst quarterly performance on record – a 2nd-quarter contraction of 13.2% year on year.

So Singapore must remain vigilant, and safe management measures and travel restrictions will stay for awhile yet, he said.

5th round of support measures

The measures Mr Heng announced was the 5th round of support measures he unveiled this year for those affected by Covid-19.

The Government had already released 4 previous rounds of Budgets, all of which contained some form of support measures.

The first one, called the Unity Budget, was delivered on 18 Feb. A follow-up, named the Resilience Budget, arrived on 26 Mar as it became clear that Singapore was in the throes of an unprecedented crisis, while the Solidarity Budget was released on 6 Apr.

The latest Fortitude Budget was announced amid the ‘Circuit Breaker’ on 26 May.

Whatever names they have, we’re glad that struggling Singaporeans and businesses will be given further support.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.