Singapore – Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat released the 2020 Budget on February 18, Tuesday, with a specific budget allocated for workers and businesses who have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking to Parliament, DPM Heng noted that two special packages would be introduced with a total budget of S$5.6B to help enterprises and their workers.
The first, called the Stabilisation and Support Package, aims to help stabilise the economy and support our enterprises with cash flow and their workers to stay in their jobs, said Mr Heng.
“I will give additional help to sectors more direly affected by the outbreak,” he added.
The foremost concern is jobs, said the minister. We want to help our workers retain their jobs and upgrade their skills when the opportunity comes, he noted.
“I will, therefore, provide a stabilisation and support package amounting to S$4 billion to help our workers stay employed,” said Mr Heng.
Under this package, there will be two schemes: the Jobs Support Scheme and Enhanced Wage Scheme.
Jobs Support Scheme
Mr Heng explained that for every local worker in employment, there would be an 8% offset of their wages up to a monthly wage cap of S$3,600 for three months.
The payment will be given to employers by the end of July 2020.
“With over 1.9 million local employees in Singapore, this will cost the government S$1.3 billion to benefit all enterprises and their employees,” said the minister.
Enhanced Wage Scheme
DPM Heng urged enterprises that invested in raising productivity to continue to upgrade and to share their gains with workers. “Hence, I will enhance the wage credit scheme to support wage increases for Singaporean workers,” he added.
Currently, the wage credit scheme has a cap of S$4,000. The monthly wage ceiling will be raised to S$5,000 for qualifying wage increases given in 2019 and 2020.
There will also be a raise in the Government co-founding levels for 2019 and 2020 qualifying wage increases.
“With this, another S$1.1 billion will go to over 90,000 enterprises to benefit more than 700,000 Singaporean employees,” said the minister. -/TISG
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