SkillsFuture SG to have more investigative, enforcement powers with changes to funding Acts

These amendments will allow SkillsFuture Singapore to take punitive action against errant businesses or persons. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Amendments are being made to two funding Acts to prevent misrepresentation and abuse of SkillsFuture funding schemes, and public feedback is being sought on the changes.

These amendments will provide SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) with more investigative powers, as well as strengthen enforcement actions that it can take against those who misrepresent or abuse the funding schemes, SSG said in a statement on Friday (July 8).

For example, SSG, the national body for skills development funds, will be able to investigate persons, such as marketing agents, who are not directly receiving any funding. It will also have more powers in conducting searches for documents as evidence.

With the changes, SSG will be able to take punitive action against errant businesses or persons.

It will, for instance, be able to ask errant businesses to make refunds to people who are affected or return funding disbursed. 

The amendments to the SSG Act and Skills Development Levy Act are being made in response to cases of abuse of the funding schemes.

In 2021, SSG took action against 93 training providers and companies who abused SkillsFuture funding or breached its terms and conditions.

Earlier in the week, it was announced that SSG would be refining its funding framework to better support training. From 2024, workers will no longer get subsidies from SSG for most non-certifiable courses. SkillsFuture credits will also no longer fund these courses.

Since the launch of SkillsFuture and the Skills Development Fund in 2015 to promote continued education and training, there have been several cases of misrepresentation and abuse of the schemes.

These include training providers or marketing agents falsely indicating that a course was accredited by SSG, or falsely indicating that a course was free when the fee would need to be borne by individuals' SkillsFuture credits.

The changes to the Acts announced on Friday aim to strengthen the safeguards for public monies, said SSG.

Other changes to the Acts include:

  • Expanding the coverage of funding under the SSG Act
  • Aligning the definition of "remuneration" in the Skills Development Levy Act with that of "wages" in the Central Provident Fund Act. This will allow the same basis of monthly income to be applied across organisations when calculating funds payable.

SSG's public consultation exercise is being conducted from Friday to Aug 5. Members of the public can access the documents and give their views online via the Government's feedback unit Reach.

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