Errands, even if done digitally from the comfort of your bed or sofa, can still be a hassle.
Picture this: I type in the URL for the SkillsFuture website to search for courses that I want to take up next month. It hits me that I need to renew my HDB season parking, yet another website to visit, navigate to get to the right page, and log in / log out of. I’ll need to repeat this process at different government websites if I want to check my CPF balance, manage the work permit for a helper, renew my passport and so on.
Recently, I downloaded the LifeSG app, which acts like a one-stop app to connect you to various government services — part of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative to provide us with access to simpler digital services and information.
In addition to services, the LifeSG app also provides up-to-date resources on prevalent issues of the time, such as consolidated information on Covid-19 support schemes, employment support, or the latest updates on new policies or initiatives like the Baby Support Grant, as well as information on Enrichment and Sporting events (currently conducted online of course). You can even check the status of your application for certain government services.
An avenue for employment support
In light of the drab employment situation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (aka GovTech) — who developed the LifeSG app and other digital endeavours — partnered Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) as well as the tripartite agencies to release a new employment support module on the LifeSG app to help retrenched workers and jobseekers during this trying time.
Shirley Ho, 39, an auditor and mother of 2 whose husband recently got retrenched, said she initially downloaded the LifeSG app because it provided ‘shortcuts’ to various government services that she regularly uses.
She said: “I also discovered resources that proved useful when my husband’s company went under and he was retrenched. These include the ‘Recommended for you’ piece on Retrenchment Benefits and Measures, and in ‘Articles’, I gleaned tips to prioritise and manage our debts when our finances took a hit.”
Hilmi M, 25, a recent graduate, has been looking for a job, but the Covid-19 situation made the search tougher for him and his university mates. He downloaded the LifeSG app after reading about it online.
“There are good resources in the app to support my job search, such as career coaching and suggestions for finding job opportunities. I would feel more engaged and more of my friends would download the app if the content included an interactive element that’s refreshed often, such as educational quizzes,” he noted.
Keep reading for 5 useful features in the LifeSG app and how they can benefit us:
1. Retrenched? Know your rights as an employee
If you or a friend were recently retrenched on what appears to be poor terms, this section on the LifeSG app will help you understand your benefits and what you’re entitled to as an employee.
What are the fair practices during the notice period, how long should the notice period be, what are your retrenchment benefits, what to do if there’s a dispute or if your notice period is not stated in your contract?
There’s also a helpful section on exploring alternatives to retrenchment that you could discuss with your manager/human resources department, and a link to the Ministry of Manpower website that talks about mandatory retrenchment notifications.
And yes, there’s also a section that points you to opportunities for new jobs and skills upgrading to enhance your employability.
Feel that you had an unlawful dismissal or you would like to appeal for re-employment? You can do that via the LifeSG app too.
Note: Though more relevant for retrenched workers, the above information is also useful for jobseekers, especially when they are negotiating terms of their employment contract.
2. Get financial support if you’re out of a job or got a paycut
Losing an income stream due to retrenchment is always difficult, especially if you haven’t beefed up your investment portfolio. You may have bills to pay, financial commitments to upkeep, a family to support, and so on… Even if it’s just yourself and your pet doggo, you can’t let both Spot and yourself go hungry, right? Managing your finances is important, especially now.
Through the LifeSG app, find out what financial support is available for Singaporeans like yourself who are affected by Covid-19.
Get quick links to existing support schemes such as HDB bedroom subletting (did you know you can do that?) and HDB financial assistance measures if it’s hard for you to pay your mortgage. There are also 2020 Budget relief measures like the Covid-19 Support Grant, additional SkillsFuture credit (mid-career support), and the Home Access Programme for subsidised Wi-Fi in your home (to help in your job search, no need to camp for a spot in the library anymore) if your household is eligible.
3. Know where to hunt for your next job
It may seem like your job search is taking forever, especially if you’ve been retrenched. Sometimes, all you need is a nudge in the right direction to land a job. Maybe you’ve been looking in all of the wrong places? Through the LifeSG app, get suggestions for where to find job opportunities online, such as through job postings through MyCareersFuture and its virtual career fairs, or via the SGUnited traineeship programme.
You can also get career coaching and resources with Career Restarter at WSG, and get in touch with unions and agencies for more information on schemes and benefits, or even more career resources.
4. Rediscover your work self and/or realise your passion
If you’ve been retrenched, try to carve out some time in-between your flurry of job applications to rediscover what your interests truly are through self-assessment tools at MySkillsFuture, or a one-to-one session with a career coach — both via the LifeSG app.
A career coach can also advise on your strengths and weaknesses, point out skill/knowledge gaps, analyse job suitability, help you with your resume and interview skills, and even propose alternative yet suitable career paths that you may never consider, such as a mid-career switch through the Professional Conversion Programme.
5. Upgrade your skills
The key thing about being unemployed is NOT to remain stagnant throughout. Being retrenched is not the end of your career, but rather an opportunity to upgrade yourself to an improved version 2.0 to land a better job.
Through the LifeSG app, find out how you can upgrade your skills to enhance your employability, advance your career, transition into a new role or pick up transferable skills like navigating a digital workplace. Chances are, these courses can also be paid for or subsidised with your SkillsFuture Credits.
Similarly, the LifeSG app keeps on improving and upgrading itself to serve us better. More features will be rolled out progressively in subsequent phases, especially those related to providing employment support… so stay tuned!
Whatever your situation, keep moving forward. Download the LifeSG app to get all the help and resources you need to take charge of your career.