Singapore offers more wage support amid strict ‘phase 2’

'Our circumstances today are very different'

Singapore offers more wage support amid strict ‘phase 2’

The Ministry of Finance is extending its Job Support Scheme (JSS) to more businesses as Singapore remains under strict restrictions in phase 2 (Heightened Alert). On Friday, the MOF announced that additional sectors struggling under the latest rules are entitled to wage support. These include non-essential businesses.

The JSS programme aims to close the gap caused by the sudden drop in income among workers in closed shops. The scheme subsidises local workers’ first $4,600 of gross monthly wages earned. Funding based on April to June calculations, however, will be released in September. Owners of gyms and fitness studios, as well as those in performing arts organisations and arts education centres, can receive wage assistance.

Read more: MOM warns HR against disguising layoffs

Meanwhile, businesses that are allowed to operate amid the Heightened Alert period can receive subsidies of 30% of their usual salary. They range from retail, personal care, museum, art galleries, historical sites, cinemas, indoor playgrounds and other family entertainment centres.

The government earlier announced that the subsidy rate for food & beverage businesses will be increased from 10% to 50% of their salary in June. Today, more businesses and industries can receive up to 50% subsidy if they’ve been forced to shutter or operate at a reduced capacity.

Read more: Singapore announces Budget 2021

“I would encourage businesses to make full use of the enhanced JSS to retain and pay their workers during this period, and to use the lull period to invest in workers through training and upskilling programmes,” said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.

The wage subsidy for businesses affected by the slowdown works in connection with the government’s overall COVID response strategy. “Our assessment is that the measures are working and they are having an effect in controlling the spread of the virus,” Wong said.

“Our circumstances today are very different compared to last year. And under such a circumstance, I don’t think we should be going to the president to seek permission to draw on our past reserves,” he said.

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