Employers to get $4 billion in job support payouts
Over 140,000 of them to benefit; firms urged to use subsidies to retain workers
More than 140,000 employers will get over $4 billion in Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts from May 28, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.
The figure is part of more than $20 billion committed over three Covid-19 support packages to the scheme, which will subsidise 75 per cent of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages per local worker for this month.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said the wage support for companies in Singapore is very significant and urged them to use the subsidies to retain workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
His remarks come as Singapore enters its final two weeks of the eight-week-long circuit breaker, with 682 more cases confirmed yesterday.
The vast majority were migrant workers living in dormitories, with four Singaporeans and permanent residents.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the multi-ministry virus task force, said the end of the circuit breaker on June 1 does not mean its measures, meant to control the virus' spread, will be lifted overnight.
"It won't simply be a return to life before the circuit breaker," he said yesterday, noting the Government will adopt a careful and calibrated approach as the country resumes normal activities at work, schools, and in social settings.
In fact, people should be fully prepared that many of the current restrictions will continue for some time, said Mr Wong, adding that the Government is preparing for the next phase and considering what activities can resume safely.
"A controlled and phased exit from the circuit breaker will require patience and discipline from all of us," he said.
"We must all do our part to control the spread of the virus and ensure it does not flare up again. Otherwise, all our efforts and sacrifices during this circuit breaker period would have been in vain."
The construction sector, for example, will restart on a few critical projects with tight safeguards from June 2.
These include requiring workers for a project to be housed together, instead of at multiple dormitories, as well as testing workers at two-week intervals.
Construction work has been largely suspended since the circuit breaker started on April 7, with only 5 per cent of the sector's workforce - about 20,000 workers - continuing on a few essential projects.
Another 5 per cent is expected to resume work gradually, meaning about one-tenth of the usual workforce will be active next month.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Finance said employers need not apply for the JSS as the money will be automatically computed using Central Provident Fund data as at Feb 14.
Employers who register for PayNow Corporate with their banks by Friday can expect to receive the payment by May 28, the ministry added. Others will get cheques between June 3 and 5.