Timeline: A look at how the Jobs Support Scheme payout errors occurred

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore detected anomalies in the JSS payouts as part of its regular checks in November 2020.
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore detected anomalies in the JSS payouts as part of its regular checks in November 2020.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - An excess of $370 million in wage support was erroneously paid out to companies last year, after the Government used the wrong dates to determine the amount they should get.

The same error also resulted in an extra $1.2 million being paid out in foreign worker levy waivers and rebates, the ministries of trade and industry, finance and manpower said on Thursday (April 8).

Here is a closer look at what happened:

June and July 2020: After the circuit breaker, foreign worker levy waivers and rebates were generally granted only to businesses until they were permitted to resume on-site operations.

About $1.2 million of extra foreign worker levy waivers and rebates were granted to 360 businesses in June and July due to errors in the business reopening dates used to determine the waivers and rebates, the ministries said on Thursday.

October 2020: About $5.9 billion was paid out to employers under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) from Oct 29 - the third round of payouts in 2020.

October’s JSS payment went towards supporting wages paid to local workers from June to August.

Firms in the tourism as well as construction, marine and process sectors were allowed to reopen only after getting approval from MTI, and their approved reopening dates were then used to compute the JSS amounts and foreign worker levy waiver and rebates. 
 

November 2020: The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) detected anomalies in the JSS payouts as part of its regular checks. Subsequently, several businesses also told Iras that they might have received excess JSS payouts.

December 2020: The cause of the overpayments was subsequently traced to discrepancies in companies' reopening dates.

Businesses affected included companies supporting projects in the construction, marine and process sectors, who were tagged with the reopening date of the project, even though they were already permitted to reopen earlier.

They were mistakenly deemed to have been closed for a longer period of time and thus allocated a higher JSS payout.

March 2021: The March JSS payouts for some 5,500 employers were delayed till end-April, pending checks by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on firms' reopening dates used to compute JSS payouts.

April 2021: About 1,100 businesses were also underpaid and eligible for additional JSS payouts totalling $5.5 million. This additional payment will be credited to them by end-April.

May 2021: Ministry of Manpower and MTI will inform affected businesses that received excess foreign worker levy waivers and rebates of any follow-up actions required by May.