470,000 Singaporeans to get $810m in Workfare special payout

Lower-income workers on Workfare Income Supplement to get payment from Wednesday

Since 2007, $6.8 billion in Workfare payment has been given to about 890,000 recipients.
Since 2007, $6.8 billion in Workfare payment has been given to about 890,000 recipients.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

A total of 470,000 lower-income Singaporean workers who are on the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme will get $810 million in Workfare Special Payment (WSP) this month, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

Its announcement follows Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat's ministerial statement on Aug 17, when he said the WSP eligibility will be widened to include more than 70,000 additional workers who will receive WIS for work done this year, and who are not already receiving the WSP.

These workers will get the WSP of $3,000 from Wednesday.

Most lower-income workers have qualified for the WSP earlier and received their first payment of $1,500 in July for work done last year.

The remaining payment of $1,500 will be credited directly into their bank account on Wednesday, or mailed by cheque to their residential address by Nov 15.

Introduced in 2007, Workfare is a permanent scheme to top up the wages of lower-income workers and help them save for their retirement.

Since then, $6.8 billion in Workfare has been paid to about 890,000 recipients, said the MOF.

Targeting Singaporean workers whose earnings are in the bottom 20 per cent of the workforce, WIS is paid in the form of Central Provident Fund (CPF) top-ups for retirement, as well as cash to supplement earned income.

The scheme was enhanced this year by raising the qualifying income cap to $2,300 per month, and the maximum payout to $4,000 per year.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, wrote that Workfare and the Progressive Wage Model are policy innovations to uplift lower-income workers.

"Through Workfare, the Government supplements their incomes with cash and CPF top-ups to provide for both their immediate and retirement needs," he said.

He added that even more is being done to help lower-income workers during the pandemic.

"The Government is committed to helping every Singaporean through this crisis, especially our lower-income workers and the more vulnerable among us."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2020, with the headline '470,000 Singaporeans to get $810m in Workfare special payout'. Print Edition | Subscribe