During the Singapore Budget 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat introduced measures aimed to upkeep the economy in the midst of uncertainties and help businesses sustain amid COVID-19. As an HR Leader, you can look forward to extra support available to retain the jobs of your employees so that you do not need to worry about lack of manpower with relevant skills as your company goes through a transformation. This help comes in the form of salary-related costs assistance and funding for the upgrading of skills for lifelong learning and employability. Following is a snapshot of the available government assistance and programmes for your quick reference.
Latest Update: Singapore Government introduces a Supplementary-Resilience Budget to provide more support for businesses & workers.
Training – Funding and Programmes
Consider these training supports and programmes available for leaders in your organisation:
1.Training For Leaders
Under the Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT) Programme, leaders get training and mentoring for business transformation, an opportunity for networking amongst peers and support for implementation for business growth plans. If the company is expanding overseas, leaders can enrol for the ASEAN Leadership Programme.
2.SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)
Get a one-time $10,000 credit for training expenses for workforce transformation e.g. courses related to Industry Transformation Maps, Place-and-Train Programme, Professional Conversion Programme, Job Redesign for Manufacturing and service industries. This will help you prepare to have resources with the right skills.
Consider these supports available to retain your employees in times of uncertainty:
1.Jobs Support Scheme
Between May-October 2020, for every Singapore and PR employee, the company can expect to receive automatically a 25% (up from 8%) salary co-fund, which is based on the employee’s earned wages from October to December 2019. This amount is capped at $4,600 (up from $3,600) per employee.
For businesses directly affected by COVID-19 such as aviation, tourism and food service sectors, an enhanced jobs support scheme will be rolled out. Under this scheme, for every local worker employed, a higher co-funding at 50% to 75% wage offset for the first $4,600 of monthly wages will be provided.
2.Wage Credit Scheme
For salary increment given to the employees in the years of 2017-2019, the company can expect to receive payouts automatically in March 2020, September 2020 and March 2021 in view of the Government’s co-funding. Under this scheme, the government has increased the level of co-funding to 15%-20% as compared to the previous rates of 10%-15%. The monthly wage ceiling has also increased from $4,000 to $5,000, which now increases the number of eligible employees.
3.Job Redesign Place & Train Programme
Are you in a sector (e.g. tourism, retail, hotel, F&B, MICE, air transport etc.) which is directly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak? You could perhaps look at the Job Redesign Place and Train Programme to train your employees to take on new roles in the company and also support the company in their growth. The support consists of up to 70% of salary for up to six months and also an allowance for each training hour of the employee.
5 Reasons to Hire Locals aged 40 & above
Receive these incentives from the government when you hire employees aged 40 and above:
1. Reskilling Programmes
Hire locals aged 40 & above via reskilling programmes and receive 20% salary support for 6 months (capped at S$6,000 total). Reskilling programmes include Professional Conversion Programmes (PMETs taking courses to acquire new skills to take on a new occupation or move to a different industry), Place-and-Train Programmes (where participating employers hire employees that are going to take on a training program for the new job role) and programmes by Education and Training Centres. The following funding support will be provided by WSG to employers:
-Salary support for Singaporeans unemployed for more than six months or Singaporeans aged 40 and above:
- Up to 70% of Monthly Salary (capped at $4,000 per month)
- With effect from 1 April 2020, up to 90% of Monthly Salary (capped at $6,000 per month)
-Course fee subsidy:
- Up to 70% Course Fees (with a cap)
- With effect from 1 April 2020, Up to 90% Course Fees (with a cap) for Singaporean and Permanent Resident (PR) trainees sponsored by SMEs or Singaporean aged 40 and above
- In-house training of up to $15 per hour
Besides being able to attend the heavily subsidized courses, there is also an additional one time top-up of SkillsFuture Credit. This will even encourage employees in their 40s and 50s to refresh their skills as it is an added financial help in addition to the employer’s training.
2. Senior Employment Credit (SEC)
-For 2021 and 2022, employers will get up to 8 percent of wages paid to employers that hire Singaporean aged 55 and older depending on the age of the worker.
3.Retirement & Re-employment
-The statutory retirement age will increase gradually from 62 to 65 by 2030, while that of re-employment age from 67 to 70 in the same period.
-The first scheduled increase is on July 1, 2022, when the respective retirement ages will increase to 63 and 68.
-Companies that raise the ages three or more years in advance can receive $5,000 per senior worker aged 60 and older, capped at 50 workers.
-The funding is $2,500 for those who do it two years early and $1,000 for a year early.
–Employers who are willing to make changes to the work process to provide opportunities for part-time re-employment to eligible older employees who prefer such arrangements.
4.Part-Time Employment Support
-Funding support will also be available for employers offering part-time employment to seniors.
5.CPF Transition Offset
-For 2021, employers will receive a CPF transition offset for half of the increase in the employer contribution rates for up to the CPF monthly salary ceiling of $6,000. Employers will be contributing 0.5-1% -> 1-percentage points in CPF for workers aged 55-70 years old.
Being an Inclusive Employer by Hiring People with Disabilities
Receive incentives from the government when you hire employees with disabilities:
1.Enabling Employment Credit
Benefit from automatic wage offset of up to S$330 per month depending on the age and salary (for those earning below S$4,000/month).
Other Important Updates:
1.Employment Pass Criteria Increase from $3,600 to $3,900 per month of minimum qualifying salary
-From 1 May 2020,
- The new salary criteria for the application of new employment pass (EP) will be $3,900. *For existing EP holders, this new salary criteria will apply from 1 May 2021.
- The salary criteria for S-Pass (mid-skill foreign employees) application remains at $2,400.
- All positions that pay $20,000 per month and below, needs to be advertised on MyCareersFuture.sg to ensure a fair chance for locals to apply for the position.
2.Are you in the Service, Construction, and Marine Shipyard or Process sectors? Note the reduction of S-Pass sub-Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC):
-From January 2021 – S-pass quota
- Service sector: Capped at 10% (current 13%) of the total workforce
- Construction, marine shipyard or process sector: Capped at 18% for the total workforce
-From January 2023
- Construction, marine shipyard or process sector: Capped at 15% for the total workforce
- Service sector refers to financial-related, business services, transport, retail, hotels and F&B etc.
- Process sector refers to Plants in the manufacturing of petroleum, petrochemicals, specialty chemical and pharmaceutical products
3.Need staff resources for overseas Operations in SEA, China or India?
-Hire interns and/or fresh graduates and receive up to 70% grants of eligible expenses.