Singapore Budget 2016: Special Employment Credit extended till end-2019 to help firms which hire older workers

The extended Special Employment Credit will cover about 340,000 workers, or about three in four older Singaporean workers. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Government will extend the Special Employment Credit (SEC) for three years to the end of 2019, as part of its plan to address the immediate concerns of companies while encouraging restructuring.

Under the scheme, which was due to expire this year, wage offsets are provided to employers hiring Singaporean workers aged 55 and above, and earning up to $4,000 a month.

The extended SEC will cover about 340,000 workers, or about three in four older Singaporean workers, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech on Thursday (March 24). The SEC fund will be topped up by $1.1 billion.

The extended SEC will be tiered by employee age to provide stronger support for employers hiring Singaporeans in the older age bands, where employment rates are lower.

Employers who hire workers aged 65 and above, with wages of not more than $3,000 per month, will receive the highest SEC of 8 per cent of the employees' monthly wage.

The wage offset will be up to 5 per cent for workers aged 60 to 64, and up to 3 per cent for those aged 55 to 59.

To better support the employment of those with disabilities, employers who hire them will receive a SEC of up to 16 per cent of their monthly wage, regardless of age.

The monthly SEC will be capped at $240 per worker with disabilities.

The extended SEC will apply to employees on the payroll from Jan 1, 2017, to Dec 31, 2019.

It will be paid twice a year, in March and September. Eligibility for SEC is automatically assessed based on the regular monthly CPF contributions that employers make for their employees.

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