The Singapore government will be launching the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) in a bid to support hiring in growing sectors such as the biomedical sciences, financial services, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors.

The JGI is part of the additional $8 billion in Covid-19-relief announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Aug 17. It is a billion-dollar programme to support firms to increase their headcount of local workers over the next six months.

For these firms, Heng says the government will co-pay up to 25% of salaries of all new Singaporean hires for one year. The co-payment will be subject to a salary limit.

He added that for local employees aged 40 and above, the co-payment to firms will be up to 50%.

In addition, to drive job opportunities for job seekers, 24 SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres have been set up in the heartlands.

“I encourage job seekers to visit these centres and make the best of the resources available – to find a suitable job, traineeship, attachment or training. This way, you are better prepared when the job market recovers,” says Heng.

Retrenchments ‘inevitable’

Despite the schemes, retrenchment, Heng says, is “inevitable”.

As such, the government has extended the Covid-19 Support Grant (CSG) to help unemployed Singaporeans or citizens who have suffered “significant income loss”, until December 2020.

From Oct 1, 2020, the extension will be open to both existing CSG recipients and new applicants. To qualify, unemployed applicants must demonstrate their efforts in searching for jobs, or upskilling themselves in a bid to find work.

“Our labour market is likely to remain weak beyond 2020. We are studying how to continue supporting employees and self-employed persons who are most vulnerable,” adds Heng.

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