50,000 more will benefit from jobs scheme

Wage subsidy payouts under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for shareholder-directors will include backdated payments for the month of April.

The disbursement for this group of qualifying employees will start this month, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament yesterday.

About 50,000 qualifying employees who are also shareholders and directors of companies, with assessable income of $100,000 or less in the year of assessment 2019, are expected to benefit from this enhanced scheme.

Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said feedback had been received from shareholder-directors, especially from smaller companies and start-ups, whose personal wages form a significant portion of their firms' bills but were not covered by the JSS.

They also do not qualify for the self-employed person income relief scheme.

The JSS was changed to take into account the situation of this group of employees, Mr Heng said.

"By supporting them, we hope that these shareholder-directors will be able to retain their own wages and livelihoods, just as we would like them to retain their employees," he said.

The salary criteria was set to better target shareholder-directors who need the support more, he added.

The change to include this group was announced by Mr Heng on April 21, when circuit breaker measures were extended to June 1.

The JSS pays out 75 per cent of wages for April and May on the first $4,600 of a worker's gross monthly pay, and at least 25 per cent for a further seven months, depending on the sector.

Firms in the food services industry will receive 50 per cent of wages for those seven months, while companies in the aviation and tourism sectors will get 75 per cent of wages for the full nine months.

The scheme was announced in February's Budget and enhanced in the supplementary budgets in March and April.

Choo Yun Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 05, 2020, with the headline '50,000 more will benefit from jobs scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe