Coronavirus: $7 billion in wage subsidies to go to over 140,000 employers from Wednesday to save jobs

The wage subsidies are intended to help to cover the wages of over 1.9 million local employees here.
The wage subsidies are intended to help to cover the wages of over 1.9 million local employees here.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Employers have begun getting the first payouts under the Jobs Support Scheme, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) in a joint statement on Wednesday (April 15).

A total of $7 billion, which will go to more than 140,000 employers, has been set aside to help to cover the wages of over 1.9 million local employees here.

The wage subsidies are intended to save jobs as enhanced safe distancing measures take effect, effectively requiring most workers to telecommute and those in non-essential services to cease operations for one month to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The scheme was first announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Feb 18 Budget speech, and enhanced in the Resilience and Solidarity Budgets - collectively known as the supplementary budget - on March 26 and April 6.

Initially, it pledged to offset 8 per cent of the wages for every local employee in Singapore, up to a monthly cap of $3,600, for three months. This was expected to cost $1.3 billion.

But the Government will now subsidise 25 per cent of wages for all local employees. Companies in the worst-hit aviation and tourism sectors will get a 75 per cent subsidy and those in the food services sector, 50 per cent.

The wage cap will also be raised from $3,600 to $4,600, with the scheme extended for another six months so that employers will get payouts in May, July and October, Mr Heng said.

Then, earlier this month, he announced that the first payout will be brought forward to April to help companies with cash flow. To cope with circuit breaker measures, firms in all sectors will also get a 75 per cent wage subsidy for this month, with the subsidies reverting to normal levels beyond that.

The money paid out in this tranche will be computed based on October 2019 wages. It will subsequently be adjusted based on actual wages paid in April 2020.

 
 
 
 

Companies with CorpPass access can log in to the myTax portal to view their notification letters from next Monday. They do not need to apply to receive the payouts.

Eligible businesses will be notified by post on the subsidy tier they qualify for and the amount of money they will get. They can also check their eligibility on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) website.

Employers who had earlier signed up for PayNow Corporate or have existing Giro arrangements with Iras will have payouts directly credited to their registered bank accounts on Wednesday.

Those who are not on either scheme will start receiving their cheques from next Thursday.