5 Solidarity Budget Updates For Singaporean Workers, Bosses & Freelancers

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat just announced the new Solidarity Budget today (6 Apr). It’s Singapore’s 3rd major budget in 2020, after the Unity Budget and the Resilience Budget.

For starters, an extra $4 billion will come from our past reserves to fund this $5.1 billion budget.

Solidarity Budget To Draw Extra $4 Billion From Reserves To Help S’poreans Through Covid-19

That’s in addition to the $17 billion already set aside for the Resilience Budget, which DPM Heng unveiled just recently on 26 Mar.

In total, the government is spending a staggering $59.9 billion on these measures to tide Singaporeans over this period of economic downturn.

DPM Heng mentioned in his address that the Solidarity Budget will mainly help Singaporean workers and businesses get through the circuit breaker.

This includes providing for households, individuals, as well as businesses cope until activities can resume smoothly after this period.

Infographic by MS News

Here’s a rough summary of what’s going on, and how it may affect you.

Subsidies for employees’ wages

Firms will inevitably be making losses during the circuit breaker, and possibly even after, due to long-lasting impacts.

To ensure this doesn’t result in Singaporeans losing their jobs or taking pay cuts, the government has stepped up their Job Support Scheme (JSS).

Now, 75% of the first $4,600 of every worker’s pay will be subsidised by the government.

You can read our article below for the full scoop.

Solidarity Budget Subsidises 75% Wages For 1.9 Million Employees To Discourage Lay-Offs & No Pay Leave

1 month of rental waivers for tenants of government agencies

With the compulsory closure of all non-essential services, many firms may struggle to pay rent due to a fall in revenue.

Having this in mind, the government will increase rental waivers for their tenants by at least 2 weeks.

For some of tenants like hawkers, this means they will receive up to 3 months of rental waivers.

Read more about that and a new bill on rebates for landlords below.

Rental Waivers To Be Increased For Tenants Of Govt Agencies, As Govt Leads By Example

More freelancers eligible for cash payouts

DPM Heng mentioned in his address that many freelancers felt the criteria for the Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) was too restrictive, leaving many out of it.

Under the new revision, 12,000 more freelancers can now qualify.

Instead of monthly payouts of $1,000, they’ll now receive $3,000 per month in May, Jul and Oct.

Read the article below for more details.

Solidarity Budget Gives Eligible Freelancers $3,000/Month Payouts Thrice Till October

Cash payouts for all adult Singaporeans

To ease the financial burden on households, the government is granting all adult Singaporeans a one-off cash payout of $600 this Apr.

$300 will be brought forward from the previously announced Care and Support Scheme, and the remaining $300 is an additional amount in light of the month-long circuit breaker hindering many’s lives.

Singaporeans will also receive the remaining payout from the Care and Support Scheme earlier, in Jun instead of Aug.

The cash payout will be issued directly into Singaporeans’ bank accounts via PayNow, or by cheque if the government does not have their details.

Adult S’poreans To Get $600 Cash Payouts In Apr, To Help Households Cope With Covid-19

Emotional support for Singaporeans with anxiety

Being cooped up at home all the time can definitely be stressful, and even cause anxiety for some.

The government wants to support Singaporeans through the circuit breaker both financially and emotionally, so they’ve rolled out a 24-hour hotline for you to call if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Professionals and trained volunteers will be manning the line, and will be there to soothe any woes you have.

24/7 Hotline To Help S’poreans Cope With Covid-19 Anxiety, To Be Run By Professionals & Volunteers

Solidarity Budget providing support through difficult times

The circuit breaker is set to take a serious toll on the economy, and on Singaporeans’ spirits too.

Our government has reassured us many times that they’re doing their best to see us through this dark period. Given the constant review of measures and rolling out of improved support schemes, it’s clear they won’t leave us to drown.

We can rely on them for financial support, and even for free masks, but we can’t depend on them to keep Covid-19 from spreading. Local infections are increasing at an alarming rate, and it’s been said time and time again that this period is absolutely crucial to curbing the coronavirus.

We sincerely urge you to stay indoors, and do your part to keep local infections at bay.

It’s just a month long, and you’ll be able to catch up on K-dramas and Netflix as much as you like. If you’re missing your friends, check out Netflix Party or Zoom, but don’t go sneaking out and meeting up. It’s simply unwise to do so now, and you’re putting not just yourself, but many, many others at risk.

That said, stay indoors, sanitise, wear a mask if you have to go out, and take care.

Featured image adapted from MS News.