New Covid-19 support measures for firms, workers during phase 2: How they may affect you

No additional draw on past reserves is expected at the moment as the measures will be funded through reallocating development expenditure. PHOTOS: LIM YAOHUI, ST FILE, KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Businesses and individuals affected by the latest Covid-19 restrictions that are in place till June 13 will get more financial assistance.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced on Friday (May 28) that these support measures - which will cost $800 million - will include more wage subsidies for affected employers to retain workers, one-off payments for individuals and rental relief.

No additional draw on past reserves is expected at the moment, the ministry said, as the measures will be funded through reallocating development expenditure.

The authorities had imposed more restrictions on community activities from May 16 to June 13 after a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the community since late last month. The measures have been working so far as the number of new community cases have stabilised, said Mr Wong at a press conference on Friday. "Therefore, we do not think there is a need for further tightening in our overall posture," he said.

Here are the highlights of the latest support measures:

1. Wage subsidies

Wage subsidies under the Jobs Support Scheme will be enhanced. The scheme provides wage support to employers for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee.

The support has been increased to 50 per cent from May 16 to June 13 for firms in the food and beverage, performing arts and arts education, and sports sectors, from zero or 10 per cent during the April 1 to May 15 period.

These are businesses where tightened measures require them to suspend many, if not all, of their operations, said MOF.

For sectors that are not required to suspend operations but are significantly affected, wage support will be increased to 30 per cent.

These are companies in the retail sector, museums, art galleries, historical sites, cinemas, indoor playground and other family entertainment centres.

The enhanced payout will be disbursed in September.

2. Temporary relief grant

A one-off support for lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed people will be given through a new scheme.

The Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) is meant for these people who have been financially affected as a result of the tightened measures.

Individuals placed on involuntary no-pay leave may receive a one-off payout of up to $700.

Those experiencing significant income loss may get a one-off payout of up to $500.

Applications will be open from June 3 to July 2, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development is expected to release more details shortly.

This scheme will run in parallel to the existing Covid-19 Recovery Grant scheme, which will remain open for those who are retrenched or whose incomes have been affected over at least three consecutive months.

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3. Rental relief

Rental relief will be given to small and medium-sized enterprises and non-profit organisations with an annual revenue of not more than $100 million which are tenant-occupiers of some commercial properties.

The Government will grant one month of rental relief for qualifying tenants in government-owned commercial properties.

A similar one-month rental waiver had been announced earlier for hawker stalls and coffee shops.

For privately owned commercial properties, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) will disburse a half-month rental relief cash payout to qualifying tenants as part of a new scheme, called the Rental Support Scheme.

This payout will be given from mid-August, based on the latest contractual gross rent from May 14 to 29.

More details on the scheme and how to apply for it will be provided on the Iras website by mid-June.

4. Suspension of repayment for tuition fee loans

The Ministry of Education (MOE) will extend the suspension of loan repayment and interest charges for another four months until Sept 30.

This applies to tuition fee loans, study loans and overseas student programme loans for all autonomous university and polytechnic graduates.

MOE had earlier suspended these charges for one year, from June 1 last year to May 31.

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