90,000 employers to get $600m in wage credit payouts by March 31
More than 90,000 employers will receive Wage Credit Scheme payouts by March 31
Over 90,000 employers - most of them small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - will get more than $600 million in payouts this month under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS).
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) said in a statement yesterday that the wage credit payouts will be made by March 31.
The scheme co-funds wage increases for Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to $4,000, and is meant to help companies cope with rising wage costs. About 70 per cent of the funds will go to SMEs.
Through this month's wage credit payouts, the Government will co-fund 15 per cent of qualifying wage increases given in 2019, 2018 and 2017 to more than 700,000 Singaporean employees.
The National Wages Council (NWC) was also convened yesterday to discuss wages in the light of the coronavirus outbreak. The tripartite body, made up of employer, employee and government representatives, usually meets in April and May.
In a statement, the Ministry of Manpower said the council was convened earlier this year "given the economic uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 situation".
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat had, in his Budget speech last month, also announced two enhancements to the WCS, as part of the $4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package to help workers stay employed amid the coronavirus crisis by defraying some of the wage costs of businesses.
The scheme's gross monthly wage ceiling was raised from $4,000 to $5,000 for qualifying wage increases given last year and this year, so that more Singaporean employees will benefit.
The Government's co-funding levels for 2019 and 2020 qualifying wage increases will also be raised from the current 15 per cent and 10 per cent, to 20 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.
Employers eligible for the Budget 2020 enhancements for last year's wage increases will receive a supplementary payout in the second half of this year. They do not need to apply to receive WCS payouts, the MOF and Iras said. Those eligible will get letters from Iras by the end of this month informing them how much they will get in the March payout.
The scheme was introduced in 2013 for three years, and later extended to this year, to support businesses as they restructure.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, wrote on his Facebook page yesterday: "Beyond supporting our businesses to embark on transformation efforts, the WCS aims to encourage sharing of productivity gains with workers.
"It is this sense of mutual trust and support that has taken us to where we are today, and will keep us going strong in our fight against Covid-19."
The money will be credited directly into the employers' Giro bank accounts used for income tax as well as goods and services tax purposes, or into their bank accounts registered with PayNow Corporate.
Appeals over WCS payouts must be submitted to Iras by June 30 and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
• Employers can go to www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/wcs.aspx to check their eligibility or for more details on the WCS