SINGAPORE, March 27 — The Government will allocate a total of S$15.1 billion (RM46 billion) to support more than 1.9 million workers here who have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis, through the Jobs Support Scheme.
Under the updated scheme, the Government will pay for 25 per cent of wages of every Singaporean worker in employment, up to a monthly wage cap of S$4,600, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
This is an increase from the 8 per cent and a monthly wage cap of US$3,600 when the scheme was first announced in February.
Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said that the new qualifying wage ceiling of US$4,600 is the median wage in Singapore.
The enhanced Jobs Support Scheme will cost the Government more than 11 times the initial amount of S$1.3 billion set aside earlier this year.
“This is more than twice the level of support provided during the global financial crisis. With this support from the Government, I urge employers to do your part to hold on to your workers,” Heng said.
The situation now calls for bolder and more aggressive moves to save jobs and keep workers in employment, he added.
“Our immediate priority is to save jobs, support our workers and protect livelihoods.”
Heng also said that the Jobs Support Scheme will be extended for two more quarters.
Employers will receive their payouts in a total of three tranches, namely by the end of May, July and October this year.
Some sectors that have been more affected by the crisis will get more support.
For example, food-and-beverage companies will receive co-funding support of 50 per cent of wages. Those in the aviation and tourism sectors will get 75 per cent.
The disbursement of the enhanced Wage Credit Scheme, which was announced in February as well, will be brought forward to the end of June, instead of September this year.
The Wage Credit Scheme co-funds wage increases for Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$4,000.
The cap will be raised to S$5,000 for qualifying wage increases given in 2019 and 2020.
The Government will also co-fund five percentage points more, raising the levels to 20 per cent for wage raises in 2019 and 15 per cent for those in 2020.
The enhancement will cost the Government another S$1.1 billion, benefitting 90,000 enterprises and more than 700,000 Singaporean employees, Heng said in February.
The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Singapore has already been felt, with the Ministry of Trade and Industry announcing yestersday that the economy in the first quarter had shrunk by 2.2 per cent, based on advanced estimates.
The ministry also further downgraded its growth forecast for 2020, from between -0.5 and 1.5 per cent, to between -4 per cent and -1 per cent.
For more on the Resilience Budget, visit: tdy.sg/resiliencebudget. — TODAY