470,000 Singaporean workers to get $810 million in Workfare Special Payment this month: Finance Ministry

Since 2007, $6.8 billion in Workfare payment has been given to about 890,000 recipients. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Some 470,000 lower-income Singaporean workers who are on the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme will receive $810 million in Workfare Special Payment (WSP) in October, said the Ministry of Finance on Friday (Oct 23).

In his ministerial statement on Aug 17, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had announced that WSP eligibility will be widened to include more than 70,000 additional workers, who will receive the WIS for their work done in 2020, and who are not already receiving the WSP.

These lower-income Singaporean workers will receive their October payout of the WSP from Oct 28. Most of them would have qualified for WSP earlier and received their first payment of $1,500 in July for their work done in 2019.

They will receive their final payment of $1,500 this month through direct crediting into their bank account on Oct 28, or through a cheque mailed to their residential address by Nov 15.

Introduced in 2007, Workfare is a permanent scheme to top up the salaries of lower-income workers and to help them save for their retirement.

Since then, $6.8 billion in Workfare payment has been given to about 890,000 recipients. Targeting Singaporean workers whose earnings are in the bottom 20 per cent of the workforce, the WIS is paid in the form of Central Provident Fund top-ups for retirement, as well as cash to supplement earned income.

The WIS was enhanced from 2020, with the qualifying income cap raised to $2,300 a month, and the maximum annual WIS payout increased to $4,000 a year.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, wrote that Workfare and the Progressive Wage Model are key policy innovations to uplift lower-income workers.

"Through Workfare, the Government supplements their incomes with cash and CPF top-ups to provide for both their immediate and retirement needs," he said.

He added that more is being done to help lower-income workers during the pandemic.

"The Government is committed to helping every Singaporean through this crisis, especially our lower-income workers and the more vulnerable among us," he said.

"We will also work with you to build a better and brighter future for all Singaporeans in a post-Covid world."

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