Jobs Support Scheme extension will hopefully help Singapore avoid sudden spike in retrenchments: President Halimah

President Halimah Yacob cautioned that not every firm can be saved. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to cover wages up to March next year is particularly important and is a key component of the latest support package for businesses and workers, said President Halimah Yacob.

By extending it in a calibrated and sustainable manner, Singapore will hopefully avoid a sudden spike in retrenchments, she added.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 17), Madam Halimah said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had briefed her and the Council of Presidential Advisers on the Government's proposal to introduce a Fifth Support Package as significant uncertainties and challenges remain ahead.

The package includes, among other measures, an extension of the JSS that varies by industry, with harder-hit sectors such as aviation, aerospace and tourism receiving the most support at 50 per cent wage levels for seven more months.

A few sectors that are managing relatively well, such as biomedical sciences and financial services, will receive 10 per cent wage support for four more months.

Madam Halimah said the JSS extension will provide continued support for businesses and workers amid a weak economic environment, but she cautioned that not every firm can be saved.

"We can't save every business, and we have to be prepared that there may still be more job losses in the next few months," said Madam Halimah.

"But by continuing the JSS support in a more calibrated and sustainable manner, we will hopefully avoid a sudden spike in retrenchments. This will give us more time to create new quality jobs, and for workers to reskill for their new roles."

The President added that the Fifth Support Package will be fully funded from the re-prioritisation of resources and does not require an additional draw from past reserves beyond what she had earlier given approval for.

The Government has dedicated close to $100 billion over four Budgets since February to support workers and businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. President Halimah had earlier given approval for drawing up to $52 billion from past reserves to fund these measures.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.