Companies in the aviation, aerospace and tourism sectors - hit hard by the pandemic - will continue to receive support from the Job Support Scheme until September 2021. 

This was announced by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in the Budget on Feb 16, and is part of the $11 billion Covid-19 Resilience Package.

Companies in these hardest-hit sectors - known as Tier 1 companies - will see the government subsidise 30% of workers’ wages of the first $4,600 dollars until June 2021, and 10% up to September 2021. 

This extension is the fourth in the JSS, and will cost the government an additional $700 million. 

For the so-called Tier 2 companies - such as those in retail, food services, arts and culture, and marine and offshore – they will get wage support of 10% for three more months, covering wages paid up to June 2021.

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“So far, we have committed over $25 billion to the JSS, and supported over 155,000 employers for up to 17 months. The current tranche will continue to cover wages up to March 2021 for most sectors,” Heng said.

The JSS was probably the most prominent scheme among the various support measures introduced by the government last year to deal with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong thanks the government for its continued support for the aviation industry.

“The measures will help to bolster the SIA Group’s plans to navigate the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, while remaining nimble and flexible to seize all opportunities as international routes re-open and travel sentiments improve,” he said.

“The initiatives will also help our employees to retain their knowledge and competencies, and acquire new skills if necessary, ensuring that they are future-ready during this critical period,” said Goh.

$5.4 billion boost

The Covid-19 Resilience Package will also include a $5.4 billion boost to the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package to support the hiring of 200,000 locals. 

Heng announced this will also provide up to 35,000 traineeship and training opportunities, and this comes on top of the $3 billion allocated to the jobs and skills package last year. 

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The support package was first launched in May last year to create 100,000 opportunities to help Singaporean workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As at end-December, nearly 76,000 people have been placed into jobs, traineeships, attachments and skills training opportunities, Heng said during his Budget speech.

Of the $5.4 billion, $5.2 billion will go to extending the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) for seven months.

Currently, under the JGI, firms that hire local workers from September 2020 to February 2021 will receive a subsidy of 25% of the first $5,000 of their gross monthly salaries.

With the scheme now extended up to end-September this year, companies will be getting up to 12 months of wage support.

Furthermore, companies who hire mature workers, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders will get more help of up to 18 months of enhanced wage support, Heng added.

To groom leaders in innovation and enterprise, as Singapore heads into a more technologically-intensive and innovation-driven economy, there will be a new Innovation and Enterprise Fellowship programme, with the National Research Foundation (NRF) supporting about 500 fellowships over the next five years, said Heng.

This aims to meet the needs in areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and health technology. It will work with a range of partners, including accelerators, venture capital firms and deep-tech start-ups.

jobs growth - THE EDGE SINGAPORE