The Singapore Government has consistently introduced new funds and grants for various groups of Singaporeans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The temporary relief fund, the Covid-19 support grant and the courage fund are the main tiers of grants introduced.
Whilst the above funds/grants assist individuals and households in these difficult times, other relief measures have also been introduced to assist businesses in tiding through the pandemic.
The solidarity budget, unveiled on 6 April, introduced the Enhanced Job Support Scheme (JSS), Expanded criteria for Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), Waiver of monthly Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) and Foreign Worker Levy Rebate, Rental waiver for industrial, office and agriculture tenants of Government agencies and a Bill to ensure property owners pass on Property Tax Rebate for 2020 in full to tenants. These schemes are briefly explained below.
- Enhanced Job Support Scheme (JSS)
The Government will provide 75% wage support on the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for local employees across all sectors for the months of April and May 2020. The first JSS payout will be in April 2020 and the enhanced payout for May 2020 will be disbursed by end-May 2020.
The Government will extend the Jobs Support Scheme payout, to cover the wages of employees of a company who are also shareholders and directors of the company (shareholder-directors).
- Expanded criteria for Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)
Self-employed persons who also earn a small income from employment work will qualify for SIRS. The Annual Value Threshold will be increased from $13,000 to $21,000. Eligible SEPs will receive three quarterly cash payouts of $3,000 each in May, July and October 2020.
- Waiver of monthly Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) and Foreign Worker Levy Rebate
The monthly Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) due in April and May 2020 will be waived. There will be a Foreign Worker Levy Rebate of $750 in April and May 2020 from levies paid this year, for each Work Permit or S Pass holder.
- Rental waiver for industrial, office and agriculture tenants of Government agencies
Industrial, office and agriculture tenants of Government agencies will receive a 1-month rental waiver.
- Bill to ensure property owners pass on Property Tax Rebate for 2020 in full to tenants
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill will ensure pass-through of Property Tax Rebate from property owners to tenants.
The above schemes will help curb the rapidly evolving pandemic’s impact on Singapore’s economy and businesses. As the uncertainty of the end of the pandemic looms over Singapore, the government continues to support households and businesses through such relief measures.