$2.2b in JSS payouts from June 30 to support wages

Amount will subsidise wages of 2 million local workers, bringing total assistance to $26.7b

More than 140,000 employers will receive Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts totalling more than $2.2 billion from next Wednesday.

These payouts will support the wages of more than two million local employees, bringing the total amount of JSS support disbursed since the introduction of the scheme at the Unity Budget in February last year to more than $26.7 billion, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) yesterday.

Following the tightening of Covid-19 rules last month, additional support measures totalling $800 million were rolled out, including enhanced wage subsidies under the JSS and rental reliefs.

Singapore had put in place heightened measures last month to curb the spread of Covid-19 and bring down a spike in community cases. Some measures were relaxed on June 14, and others on Monday.

Since a number of the tightened safe management measures are continuing until the middle of next month, the JSS enhancements have been extended for affected sectors by three weeks, before being tapered down to 10 per cent for another two weeks.

For this round of payouts this month, employers in the aviation, aerospace and tourism sectors will receive 50 per cent support for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid in January, February and March.

Those in the food services, retail, arts and entertainment, land transport, built environment and marine and offshore sectors will receive 30 per cent support for wages paid during the same period.

Employers in all other sectors - excluding biomedical sciences, precision engineering, electronics, financial services, information and communications technology, media, postal and courier, online retail, and supermarkets and convenience stores - will get 10 per cent support.

DBS Bank senior economist Irvin Seah said the JSS extensions may be enough to offset the direct impact on businesses for now.

"But as long as Covid-19 continues to rage on and economic activities cannot fully normalise, especially for hard-hit sectors, it will continue to take a toll on companies, workers and the economy."

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said any further calibrations to the JSS will depend on how far restrictions are eased to allow more in-person activities.

Singapore International Chamber of Commerce chief executive Victor Mills said the Government has extended JSS in a targeted way this year, to support sectors most affected by the heightened alert.

"We all hope that no further assistance will be needed. This will depend on getting the vaccination rate up to (around) 70 per cent by the fourth quarter of this year, which is the key to reopening the economy and removing the need for additional targeted support."

Singapore's vaccine roll-out was scaled up in recent weeks to prepare for the new normal with Covid-19 as an endemic disease. More than half of the population here have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Yesterday, MOF and Iras reminded employers to make the right amounts of Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for their employees, based on actual wages paid. Employers' CPF contributions are used to determine the amount of JSS payout.

Those who abuse the JSS will have their payouts denied, and can be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code and face up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2021, with the headline $2.2b in JSS payouts from June 30 to support wages. Subscribe