Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered today (17 August) a ministerial statement on how the Government will continue its support for workers and businesses, and protect livelihoods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
His statement comes as some support schemes are expiring and Singapore is facing a deepening recession.
The global economy is projected to contract by five per cent this year and Singapore experienced its worst quarterly performance on record — a 13.2 per cent contraction year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020.
While Singapore’s COVID-19 situation is currently “under control”, the global economy remains very weak and its recovery is dependent on how well countries can contain the spread of the virus.
Government measures to help workers and businesses are ending soon, so Mr Heng outlined today how Singapore can advance its strategies in three areas: continued support for jobs and creating new ones, further support for hardest-hit sectors and positioning ourselves to seize growth opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world.
Covering Wages Up To March 2021
Mr Heng said the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) was launched at the start of the pandemic with a clear goal to protect jobs.
Over S$16 billion of JSS payouts has been disbursed since then, benefitting over two million local workers in more than 150,000 firms.
Mr Heng announced that he will be extending the JSS by up to seven months, covering wages paid up to March 2021. Currently, it is up to August 2020.
However, he noted that the JSS cannot be sustained at current levels as it draws heavily on Singapore’s reserves and risks trapping workers in unviable businesses.
He said that support will be adjusted based on the projected recovery of the different sectors.
With the JSS extension, most businesses will receive wage support for 17 months to help them retain as many workers as possible.
Over these months, the JSS support will range from 10 per cent to 75 per cent.
Mr Heng urged businesses to make full use of this additional support to retain and upskill their workers, and to transform their operations for the post-Covid-19 world.
Featured Image Credit: RedWire Times