SINGAPORE - A new scheme will subsidise the wages of local workers to help them stay employed during the coronavirus outbreak, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Feb 18).
The Jobs Support Scheme will offset 8 per cent of the wages of every employee who is a Singaporean or permanent resident for three months, up to a monthly cap of $3,600.
The $1.3 billion payout will go to all enterprises by July 31 this year, benefiting more than 1.9 million employees.
"Our foremost concern is jobs," said Mr Heng. "We want to help our workers retain their jobs, and use any lull period to upgrade their skills, to be ready when the tide turns."
Under the temporary scheme, employers will receive the 8 per cent cash grant on the gross monthly wages of each local employee on their Central Provident Fund (CPF) payroll for October to December last year.
Employers need not apply for the scheme,as the grant will be computed based on CPF contribution data.
Mr Heng also announced enhancements to the Wage Credit Scheme, which supports wage increases for local workers.
The scheme currently co-funds wage increases for Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4,000.
Mr Heng said this wage ceiling would be raised to $5,000 for wage increases given in 2019 and 2020.
The proportion the Government gives will also go up.
Currently, it co-funds 15 per cent of qualifying wage increases from last year and 10 per cent of such increases this year.
This will be increased to 20 per cent for last year and 15 per cent for this year.
The $1.1 billion enhancements will go to about 90,000 enterprises and benefit more than 700,000 Singaporeans.
Under the scheme, employers typically receive payouts automatically in the month of March after the qualifying year.
Employers receiving additional wage credit from these new enhancements will receive a separate supplementary payout in the second half of this year.
Said Mr Heng: "For enterprises that have invested in raising productivity, I urge them to continue to upgrade and to share the gains with their workers."