SINGAPORE - Some 10,000 jobs will be created over the next one year to provide employment for locals amid the downturn, while those who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak can receive a monthly cash grant of $800 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 in Parliament on Thursday (March 26).
"First-time job seekers may be concerned about the current job market. These include our students who have just graduated or are graduating from ITE (Institute of Technical Education), polytechnics and universities this year," he said.
Companies that offer traineeships targeted at local first-time job seekers this year will be able to receive funding from government agency Workforce Singapore (WSG) under the new SGUnited Traineeships programme.
This will include science and technology traineeships in research and development labs, deep-tech start-ups, accelerators and incubators, said DPM Heng, who is also Finance Minister, in announcing the Supplementary Budget.
Participants will receive a training 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. More details on the application process and eligibility criteria will be provided later on.
Meanwhile, the SGUnited Jobs initiative to create about 10,000 jobs over the next one year will start with the public sector recruiting for longer-term roles in essential services as well as short-term, temporary jobs.
"Our agencies have been planning our manpower needs early, and there is a range of jobs which we need to fill in emerging areas. We will accelerate hiring plans to fill these roles, while giving our people meaningful employment opportunities," said Mr Heng.
These include roles in areas 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, as well as transport ambassadors, as announced earlier this week.
Together with the Singapore Business Federation and other trade associations and chambers, private-sector job opportunities will also be identified in firms recruiting in preparation for the eventual economic recovery, or to cope with disruptions to their labour supply. 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 Friday till April 12 with more than 2,200 job vacancies mainly in temporary jobs that are immediately available.
Job seekers will be able to attend virtual interviews with employers and access career-related resources, said MOM and WSG.
Employers who reduce working hours of their staff should support those who wish to seek secondary work to supplement their income, they added.
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, announcing several measures to tide them over. A total of $145 million will be set aside for these.
Low- and middle-income employees who are retrenched or lose their contracts early as a result of Covid-19 can receive a cash grant of $800 a month for three months while they search for a job 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 this year via social service offices (SSOs), while those who need financial assistance in April can contact SSOs 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 the social assistance scheme ComCare during this period.
A total of 63,900 residents were unemployed as of December last year, according to Ministry of Manpower data.
Infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong’s group CEO, Mr Wong Heang Fine, said in a statement after Mr Heng’s speech that the company will take in at least 60 polytechnic and university graduates under the SGUnited Traineeships programme. There will be training opportunities in areas such as architecture, engineering, project management and facilities management.