Singapore to give out S$900mil in support wages to over 570,000 workers


Employers who have made mandatory CPF contributions for their local employees for the months of April to July 2021 by the stated deadlines will qualify for the payouts. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): More than 43,900 employers will receive JSS payouts totalling over S$900 million from Sept 30 under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to support the wages of over 570,000 local employees.

With this payout, more than $27.6 billion in JSS support would have been disbursed since the introduction of the scheme at the Unity Budget in February 2020, said the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) in a statement released on Tuesday (Sept 21).

Employers who have made mandatory CPF contributions for their local employees for the months of April to July 2021 by the stated deadlines will qualify for the payouts.

The September payouts will cover wages from April to July 2021, and include the enhanced JSS payouts during the phase two and three (heightened alert) periods in July and August.

The four-month payout coverage is higher than the usual three-month coverage to provide cashflow support to firms affected by the protracted crisis, said the MOF and Iras.

The payout for wages paid after July 31 will be disbursed in December 2021.

Eligible employers will be notified by post of their payout amount later this month. They can also log-in to myTax Portal to view the electronic copy of their letter.

Employers who have registered for PayNow Corporate as at Sept 24, 2021 or have existing Giro arrangements with Iras can expect to receive the JSS payouts from Sept 30. Other employers will receive their cheques from Oct 15.

Fitness chain Gymmboxx, which has seven gyms across the island, welcomed the payouts.

"Increasing the scope of coverage would be ideal, but during this period of economic uncertainty, any help, big or small will go a long way," said its spokesman Sarina Goh on Tuesday.

"JSS was a big help in retaining our staff, as we did not introduce any salary reduction schemes amid months of zero revenue. At the same time, we were able to send our staff for courses to further enhance their skills in coaching and sports science."

Literary non-profit organisation Sing Lit Station (SLS), which has five full-time employees and one part-time worker, also benefited from the JSS.

Between October 2020 and July 2021, SLS engaged three trainees under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme.

"JSS along with the SGUnited Traineeship Programme enabled SLS to retain its staff and convert one of the trainees to a full-time position, while creating new opportunities for them," said its spokesman.

About $23 million in JSS payouts for September 2021 are being withheld from 500 employers, as part of Iras' anti-gaming efforts to ensure that payouts are fairly and correctly disbursed.

This is pending their review and submission of supporting documents to Iras to substantiate their eligibility.

These 500 employers make up about 1.1 per cent of all qualifying employers for the payouts.

Employers will receive their payouts once Iras has verified the authenticity and accuracy of the information submitted. Their payouts would be adjusted or denied if issues are found during the review.

MOF and Iras reminded employers to contribute the right amount of CPF for their employees, based on actual wages paid.

Employers' CPF contributions are used to determine the amount of JSS payout.

Other than having their JSS payouts denied, offenders can be charged under Section 420 of the Penal Code and face up to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine.

Businesses or individuals who wish to report any malpractices or potential abuses of the JSS may do so by e-mail at jssreport@iras.gov.sg or online at the website.

More information on the scheme can be found at the Iras website.

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