DPM Heng Swee Keat Announces Extended Jobs Support Scheme and New Covid-19 Support Measures

Heng Swee Keat announces in Budget 2020 job support scheme extended, jobs growth incentive, singaporediscovers vouchers, workfare special payment

Does anyone else feel like they’re mentally still stuck in March despite it being August? 

As we’re adjusting to the ‘new normal’, we’ve seen a decrease in community cases, a reopening of tourist attractions (with discounts!) and hotels offering staycation promotions. Crowds are also happily flocking to shopping malls as though the gates of hell have opened. Oh wait, that’s the Hungry Ghost Festival that has started, if you haven’t noticed. 

But even though people are out and about, many businesses are suffering and retrenchments continue while the number of job vacancies shrink.

To that end, DPM Heng Swee Keat on 17 Aug announced new measures to support those in need. These come on top of all the four budgets announced earlier this year. Here’s a roundup: 

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) extended to March 2021 

The Job Support Scheme for businesses, which was introduced earlier this year covers the salaries of employees and will be extended for 7 more months. 

However, the amount of coverage will vary according to industries. Companies in industries that are more badly affected by Covid-19 will receive more wage support while remaining sectors will have 10% of wages covered. 

Industries Amount of support from Jobs Support Scheme 
Aerospace, aviation, tourism 50% of wages paid till March 2021
Built environment 50% of wages paid for 2 more months, 30% till March 2021
Arts and entertainment, food services, land transport, marine and offshore, and retail 30% of wages paid till March 2021
Biomedical sciences, financial services, and ICT 10% of wages paid till Dec 2020
Rest of the sectors 10% of wages paid till March 2021

Though reduced, DPM Heng says that these payouts can still cover more than half of employers’ CPF contributions, so that’s good news for employers. 


Introduction of Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) 

This new initiative is aimed at helping sectors that are doing well amid the slowing economy — namely the biomedical sciences, financial services, and ICT sectors. 

DPM Heng also mentioned that the public healthcare and long-term care sectors are hiring, while there are opportunities in manufacturing and food and beverage, as companies are growing and innovating. 

To encourage hiring of locals in these sectors, $1 billion has been allocated to the Jobs Growth Incentive. Under the incentive, the government will provide the following: 

  • Co-payment of 25% of the salaries of new local employees (up to the first $5,000 of his salary)
  • Co-payment of 50% of the salaries of new local employees aged 40 and above

This salary support will be in place for 12 months for a new employee. 

To prevent companies from replacing employees indiscriminately, the payout to a company will be reduced proportionally if the company has to hire a new employee if the first person hired leaves.

More details will be released at a later date. 

If you’re looking for a job, whether in the same industry or looking to transition to a different field, now is a good time to take up new courses if you haven’t. There are also SGUnited courses that give you training allowance while you’re studying.


Covid-19 Support Grant extended to Dec 2020 and support for workers

More support is also at hand for those receiving the Covid-19 Support Grant, which provides a monthly cash grant of either $500 or $800 for those eligible. 

From 1 Oct 2020, applications will open for existing recipients and new applicants. To be eligible, you have to be either retrenched or placed on involuntary no-pay leave for 3 consecutive months, or have had your pay cut by at least 30% for 3 consecutive months. 

You’ll also have to show proof that you have been job searching or making efforts to train yourself, so keep copies of all those job applications and go take some courses online and make use of your SkillsFuture credits if you haven’t done so.  

We’ll update when the government releases more details in September. 

Lower income workers will continue to receive support under the Workfare Special Payment. The eligibility criteria to receive the $3,000 cash payout will be widened to “include those who were not on Workfare last year but have received or will be receiving Workfare for work done this year”. 


SingapoRediscovers Vouchers tourism credits in Sep 2020

Since we have nowhere to go, the government will be doling out some “tourism credits” known as SingapoRediscovers vouchers in September to encourage more domestic spending. 

Details on what these ‘vouchers’ are and for where or what they can be used for, have not yet been released. He did say “you may be surprised by what you discover”, but we’re not holding our breaths for that. 

Again, we’ll update in September when the Singapore Tourism Board releases more details. Meanwhile, the STB has a handy site that compiles promotions from hotels, dining, attractions, tours and retail. 

Unfortunately, one piece of sad news is that businesses in the nightlife industry will not able to reopen just yet but have you seen how some malls are as packed as a club dancefloor?! 


$50,000 grant for Startup SG Founder programme 

Budding entrepreneurs who have viable innovative business ideas may be able to benefit from the Startup SG Founder programme. 

The programme provides a grant of $30,000 to start ups along with mentorships.

From September 2020, the grant will be increased to $50,000. Note that startups will still have to co-pay $10,000. 

There’s also a new three-month Venture Building programme in which Singapore’s five universities have been selected as the first partners of the programme to provide support to entrepreneurs.

Participants of the programme will receive a monthly stipend of $1,500. More partners will be brought on board in the following months.


What do you think of these measures? Share with us in the comments below!