Wage support will be extended to second circuit breaker month of May: DPM Heng Swee Keat

The extension of the support measures will cost the Government $3.8 billion. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Singapore will extend wage support for businesses in the month of May, as it extends the circuit breaker measures for another month to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme, the Government currently subsidises 75 per cent of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for 1.9 million local workers.

This support, in the initial circuit breaker month of April, will be extended through the month of May, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (April 21), after the Government announced its move to stretch the stringent restrictions on people movement for another four weeks until June 1. It was earlier scheduled to end on May 4.

"This will be a test of our resilience as individuals and as a society, we cannot be certain when the crisis will end, but what is certain is we are here for you and we will support you," he said at a live press conference.

He also said that foreign worker levies due in May would be waived and another $750 rebate would be given to employers for each foreign worker they employ.

The extension of these support measures will cost the Government $3.8 billion, he said, urging employers to make use of the schemes and hold on to their workers

This sum adds on to the $59.9 billion the Government has marshalled to fund measures to deal with the Covid-19 disease and cushion its economic impact.

Mr Heng was speaking for the first time at a press briefing by the multi-ministry task force dealing with the coronavirus situation in Singapore.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to evolve rapidly, scientists and doctors are continually discovering new things about the virus, its transmission, treatments and immunity, and the public health response has to adapt," he said.

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Singapore is half way through a month-long circuit breaker, which began on April 7.

But it is being extended because infections among foreign workers have soared in recent weeks, and the number of unlinked cases in the general community has not gone down significantly.

On Tuesday (April 21), Singapore reported 1,111 new coronavirus cases, lower than the record daily high of 1,426 cases the day before.

It brings the total tally to 9,125 cases.

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