Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced today (March 3) that the government will set up a new $36 million training support scheme to help freelancers and self-employed persons (SEPs) upskill in the the next three months.
Under this scheme, all freelancers and SEPs will receive a training allowance of $7.50 an hour when they attend SkillsFuture courses and selected sector-specific training programmes.
There is no limit on how much training they can sign up for.
“The immediate concern of all (freelancers) is the significant drop in earnings due to the COVID-19 outbreak … Not only will this scheme supplement their income, it can (also) help them become more future-ready,” she said in Parliament.
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) will be administering the scheme, and will announce application details soon.
Additionally, Minister Teo said those who get onboard the pilot Contribute As You Earn (CAYE) scheme will have their contributions matched dollar for dollar by the Government this year, capped at $600.
Under the CAYE scheme, freelancers working directly for the Government and public sector agencies will have a portion of their fees channelled automatically to their Medisave accounts to save for their healthcare needs.
In light of COVID-19, more freelancers are expected to qualify for the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme, which encourages lower-income workers to stay employed and strengthen their retirement adequacy, said Mrs Teo.
The qualifying-income cap and maximum annual payouts both went up from January 2020, she added.
They will also receive an additional 20 per cent of their WIS payment for work done in 2019, with a minimum payment of $100, which will be given in cash.
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Featured Image Credit: NTUC Learning Hub