Forum: Managing agents have also been affected by Covid-19 pandemic

We refer to the letter from Ms Angeline Koh (Condo managing agents should pass on JSS payouts to clients, June 27).

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) was clearly outlined by the Finance Minister when he announced the Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets.

The scheme's aim was to help employers retain workers, for firms which are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the circuit breaker period and beyond.

It is patently clear from the JSS scheme that the scheme's payouts are meant to go to employers, that is, those who make Central Provident Fund contributions to their workers.

The Government has not decreed that employers who are not suffering economically due to the pandemic have to either refund the JSS payouts or share the payouts with their customers.

Managing agents are professional firms that provide services encompassing administrative, financial, operational and paralegal duties and responsibilities to the management corporations, or MCSTs.

Our businesses are not labour supply companies, as touted by some MCSTs.

Ms Koh said that managing agents are enjoying a windfall, which is not a correct statement. Many of our established member firms, which provide real estate agency and professional services, have also been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

These firms have had to resort to cost-cutting measures such as pay cuts for senior personnel and forced paid leave to retain employees.

In fact, one of the conditions of the JSS payouts is that employers must not resort to retrenching their staff, otherwise the payouts will be withdrawn.

Ms Koh's call for managing agents to pass on the JSS payouts in some form to MCSTs is not a right, and was never the intention of the Finance Minister.

Otherwise, there will be many businesses that can claim that their contract also has a component for manpower, and, therefore, they should be entitled to a share of the JSS payouts.

Chan Kok Hong

President

Association of Strata Managers