Self-employed persons to get $9,000 in cash in income relief

The Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme will disburse $1,000 a month for nine months to eligible self-employed persons. PHOTO: ST FILE

Self-employed people will each receive $9,000 in cash to help tide them through the coronavirus pandemic, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in his supplementary budget speech in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Heng said he would set aside $1.2 billion for the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme, which will disburse $1,000 a month for nine months to these people.

"Over the last few weeks, I received feedback from the labour movement and many self-employed persons calling for stronger support for the self-employed, who have less income security and whose livelihoods may be worse affected during this period of economic uncertainty," he said.

"This group has been harder to reach as they work in diverse industries, many occupations, with varying working arrangements.

"They include taxi and private-hire car drivers, real estate agents, media and art freelancers, and sports coaches."

Mr Heng added that the self-employed will also receive sustained support for training and improving their skills.

An additional $48 million will be set aside for the Self-Employed Person Training Support Scheme, introduced earlier this month.

Initially, Singaporean and permanent resident freelancers were to get a training allowance of $7.50 an hour when they go for eligible courses in the next three months.

Mr Heng said he would raise it to $10 an hour from May 1, and extend the scheme to December this year.

The higher allowance is on top of existing training subsidies which cover up to 90 per cent of fees, he added. Trainees will also be able to tap their SkillsFuture credit.

More details on the schemes will be given by the Manpower Ministry.

"Looking ahead, we will see how we can better support self-employed persons in strengthening their financial security," said Mr Heng. "We will study this carefully."

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline Self-employed persons to get $9,000 in cash in income relief. Subscribe