SINGAPORE - Around 400,000 lower-wage Singaporeans will be receiving $1,500 from next Tuesday (July 28), their first payout of the Workfare Special Payment.
Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget speech in March, the scheme provides eligible lower-income workers with a $3,000 cash payout which will be given in two equal parts in July and October.
The payout will be given to workers who were eligible for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme before March 31, for their work done last year. WIS targets the bottom 20 per cent of the workforce and is paid in the form of cash and Central Provident Fund top-ups.
They will receive the payout the same way they receive their WIS payments, via direct crediting into their bank account or through a cheque sent to their residential address.
Those eligible will be notified via SMS of the payment details if they have registered their mobile numbers with SingPass, while others will receive letters by the following week, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Friday.
To verify the authenticity of the SMS, recipients should check that the SMS was sent by SG-Workfare. They will not be asked to respond or provide any information to the sender.
Those with government-registered bank accounts will receive the July payout earlier via direct bank crediting next Tuesday. The rest will receive the payout later by cheque by Aug 15, said MOF.
The second payment will be issued via direct bank crediting on Oct 28, or via cheque by Nov 15, the ministry added.
Those who wish to receive the second payout via direct bank crediting can go to the Workfare website by Oct 14.
Meanwhile, Singaporeans who qualify for WIS for the 2019 Work Year, after July this year and before March 31 next year, will receive the full Workfare Special Payment in the month that they become eligible for the WIS.
In a Facebook post on Friday, DPM Heng said an integral part of Workfare is the additional support for training.Workfare was introduced in 2007 as a permanent scheme to address wage inequalities.
"Taken together with SkillsFuture SG and the Progressive Wage Model, we have a strong ecosystem of support to uplift our lower-wage workers in a sustainable way," he wrote.
While many workers around the world are experiencing wage stagnation, lower-wage workers in Singapore have experienced "strong" real wage growth averaging more than 4 per cent per year in the last five years - faster than the growth in median wages, said Mr Heng.
"We can and we will continue to invest in and support our lower-wage workers, so that they can continue to learn and grow," he added.
Around 29,000 lower-income Singaporeans who are union members of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will also be able to receive up to $100 in assistance for daily essentials and school supplies at participating merchants, with an additional $100 for each eligible school-going child.
The NTUC Care Fund (e-Vouchers) programme, which will cost $6 million this year, will run yearly.
Union members with dependants living in the same household must have a total monthly gross household income of $3,400 and below, or a per capita income of not more than $850, to qualify. Those without dependants in the same household will need to have a personal gross monthly income of $1,500 and below.
Those who have previously benefited from NTUC-U Care Fund's 2019 voucher programmes will be automatically eligible for this new programme and will receive their e-vouchers in end-August. Members can check if they are eligible at www.ntuc.org.sg/CareFundEVouchers.
Union members who meet the eligibility criteria and have not benefited from previous voucher programmes can apply for the NTUC Care Fund (e-Vouchers) between Aug 1 and 31 here.
Successful applicants will receive their e-vouchers in end-October.