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Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered today (April 6) the Solidarity Budget Statement to supplement the previous Resilience Budget.

As part of the Resilience Budget, the Government committed $48 billion to support workers, protect livelihoods and help enterprises overcome immediate challenges amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

It also obtained the President’s in-principle support to draw $17 billion from the reserves.

Today, Mr Heng said that the new Budget will increase support in all three areas of cash, cost and credit for firms’ immediate needs, to retain their workers and stay viable.

Jobs Support Scheme Enhanced

Many firms cannot operate at all, or can only operate at a much reduced level in the coming weeks, says Mr Heng, but they should still retain and pay their workers.

The Jobs Support Scheme will be enhanced so workers can keep their jobs, and businesses can resume operations quickly when the circuit breaker is lifted, he added.

Previously, under the Resilience Budget, the scheme gave wage subsidies of between 25 per cent and 75 per cent, depending on the sector, for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages per local employee till the end of the year.

This will now go up to 75 per cent for all local employees in the month of April, which means it will benefit all of Singapore’s 1.9 million local workers.

The first payout will be brought forward to April, from May. Firms on Giro and PayNow will receive the first payout next week; those without will get them by cheque a week later.

Mr Heng says he expects firms to make use of the scheme’s support to continue paying their workers, and refrain from putting workers on no-pay leave during the period or, worse, retrenching them.

The authorities will monitor the situation carefully together with its tripartite partners, and take action where needed, he says.

Featured Image Credit: AsiaBiz-Today

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