2,300 ex-offenders hired through Jobs Growth Incentive: Tan See Leng

The Government is considering ways to continue encouraging employers to hire ex-offenders after the Jobs Growth Incentive scheme ends in March. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) has supported the hiring of about 2,300 ex-offenders as at May 2022, said Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng.

The expansion of the wage support scheme to ex-offenders had been accompanied by increased interest among employers to partner with Yellow Ribbon Singapore to hire such workers, Dr Tan said in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Government is considering ways to continue encouraging employers to hire ex-offenders after the JGI scheme ceases in March, Dr Tan added.

Dr Tan was replying to a question by Mr Murali Pillai (Bukit Batok) about the number of ex-offenders assisted by the JGI and the steps the Government has taken to promote higher take-up of the scheme before it expires on March 31.

The top 10 sectors that employed ex-offenders with JGI support include environmental services, logistics, food services, precision engineering and real estate, said Dr Tan.

The minister noted that a sizeable number of such employees continue to remain in employment nine months after being hired, and that this provided “very promising insights” for the Government to continue to help this group down the road.

But he emphasised that the JGI is meant to be a temporary measure.

“We want to also reiterate that the JGI is an extraordinary measure introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic to support employers in expanding local hiring, and is not a permanent scheme,” said Dr Tan.

Introduced in August 2020, the JGI was originally a scheme to encourage companies to hire local workers, especially those who are older. The higher tier of wage support was extended in October 2020 to eligible employers hiring people with disabilities.

It was further enhanced to support ex-offenders as well in December 2020. Under the JGI’s fifth phase from October 2022 to March 2023, the Government will co-pay 20 per cent of the first $6,000 of gross monthly wages for the first six months for qualifying workers.

Employers who hire ex-offenders directly through Yellow Ribbon Singapore, Industrial and Services Co-Operative Society or halfway houses that are engaged by the Singapore Prison Service automatically receive JGI if they meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme.

Dr Tan said there are other employment support measures today by Yellow Ribbon Singapore, and these will continue to be available to ex-offenders and employers beyond March 2023.

Some of these programmes include skills training for inmates, placement services, career retention support, as well as career coaches and advisory services to match inmates with suitable employers and help them remain gainfully employed.

“The Ministry of Manpower, alongside the Ministry of Home Affairs, is looking into other ways to encourage more employers to hire ex-offenders,” he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.