10,000 jobs to be created; aid for those who lose jobs

As the impact of Covid-19 on the economy deepens, some workers will lose their jobs or see their incomes significantly reduced, noted DPM Heng. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Some 10,000 jobs will be created over a year to provide employment for locals amid the downturn, while those who lose their jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak can receive a monthly cash grant of $800 a month for three months.

The unemployment assistance will be for low-and middle-income workers.

A new programme to help fresh graduates entering the job market will also support up to 8,000 traineeships across both large and small enterprises, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

"First-time job seekers may be concerned about the current job market. These include our students who have just graduated or are graduating from the ITE (Institute of Technical Education), polytechnics and universities this year."

Firms that offer traineeships targeted at local first-time job seekers this year can receive funding from government agency Workforce Singapore (WSG) under this SGUnited Traineeships programme.

These will include science and technology stints in research and development labs, deep-tech start-ups, accelerators and incubators, said DPM Heng.

Participants will receive an allowance co-funded by the Government and firm they are attached to, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and WSG in a statement after the speech.

Infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong said it will take in at least 60 polytechnic and university graduates under the scheme.

Meanwhile, the SGUnited Jobs initiative to create about 10,000 jobs will start with the public sector recruiting for long-term roles in essential services such as social services, early childhood education and infocomm technology.

Temporary jobs to handle the increase in Covid-19-related operations will also be available in roles such as health declaration assistants and temporary management support officers.

Private sector job opportunities will also be identified together with the Singapore Business Federation and other trade associations and chambers. Companies such as technology firm Micron and transport operator SMRT are already on board, said Mr Heng.

An SGUnited Jobs virtual career fair will run at SGUnitedJobs.gov.sg from today till April 12 with more than 2,200 vacancies mainly in temporary jobs that are immediately available.

Employers who reduce working hours of their staff should support those who wish to seek secondary work to supplement their income, said MOM and WSG.

As the impact of Covid-19 deepens, some workers will lose their jobs or see their incomes significantly reduced, noted DPM Heng, announcing several measures to tide them over. A total of $145 million will be set aside for these.

Low-and middle-income employees who lose their jobs due to Covid-19 can receive $800 a month for three months while they search for work or attend training.

This applies to Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 16 and above with a monthly household income of up to $10,000 or per capita household income of up to $3,100 a month before becoming unemployed.

It does not cover those who were on internships or who are self-employed.

They must also live in a property with an annual value of up to $21,000, and not currently receive ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance or ComCare Interim Assistance.

Applications will be open from May to September via social service offices, while those who need financial assistance next month can contact social service offices or community centres to apply for assistance from a new Temporary Relief Fund.

In addition, the Government will exercise more flexibility when considering applications for ComCare during this period.

A total of 63,900 residents were unemployed as of December last year, according to Ministry of Manpower data.

Joanna Seow

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 10,000 jobs to be created; aid for those who lose jobs. Subscribe