Coronavirus: Use jobs support aid to pay staff or lose future payouts, MOM warns employers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will investigate complaints that employers are not using their Jobs Support Scheme payouts to support employee salaries.

The ministry said in a statement yesterday that companies which reduce their employees' salaries or put them on no-pay leave during the slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic will receive correspondingly lower payouts in subsequent tranches.

It may also punish errant employers by denying them future payouts and waivers or curtailing their work pass privileges.

"MOM has received feedback that a number of companies have not paid salaries during the circuit breaker period," it said.

"While we understand that employers may themselves face difficulties, it is not reasonable to implement extended no-pay leave or other wage-saving measures without engaging or seeking the consent of their employees.

"It is also unacceptable to threaten employees with termination should they report such issues to MOM."

Affected staff may e-mail MOM at mom_lrwd@mom.gov.sg

The Jobs Support Scheme, which has been enhanced to subsidise 75 per cent of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for 1.9 million local workers, will be extended through May. This follows the announcement that circuit breaker measures will be extended until June 1.

MOM also reminded employers of foreign workers to continue paying their salaries, as it provides a foreign worker levy rebate of $750 for each S Pass or work permit holder employed as of May 1, and waives levies due to be paid next month.

 
 
 
 

This is on top of an earlier $750 rebate for every such worker employed as of Feb 29, and the waiving of levies due this month.

To ensure consistency of understanding and practice, it will require employers to acknowledge this at this link: bit.ly/2S2DgRP

Companies with PayNow Corporate accounts must acknowledge by May 8 to receive the rebate on May 29. Those that acknowledge it by May 22 will receive it on June 19.

Companies without PayNow Corporate accounts must acknowledge by May 22 to get the payment by cheque from July 3.

MOM said it will investigate valid complaints and may suspend Jobs Support Scheme or foreign worker levy payouts for these companies until investigations are completed.

It may deny employers further support from these schemes, as well as waivers, where there is evidence of irresponsible or unfair treatment. Errant employers may also have their work pass privileges curtailed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2020, with the headline 'Use jobs support aid to pay staff or lose future payouts: MOM'. Subscribe