DollarsAndSense Business aims to support companies through all stages of their growth, and doing so amid the COVID-19 meant extensive coverage of government schemes companies could use to defray the cost of doing business, as well as make good use of the potential downtime to upskill their employees to seize opportunities of tomorrow.
Government grants for businesses have been the most substantial in recent memory, with support for older workers (aged 40 and above) typically being even more generous.
In particular, we’ve shared about how Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) subsidises up to 90% of course fees for Singaporean employees, as well as between 70% to 90% of their monthly salaries, capped at $4,000 (for workers under the age of 40) or $6,000 (for workers aged 40 and above). The typical duration of PCPs is from 3 to 24 months.
Furthermore, there is also the new Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) that incentivises creation of new jobs for locals, by subsidising between 25% (for those under 40) to 50% (for those 40 and above) of the first $5,000 of monthly salaries over a 12-month period.
Enterprising business owners would naturally be wondering: is it possible to apply for both PCP and JGI for the same employee, and if so, what would the payout quantum be?
Short Answer: You Can Apply For PCP And JGI, But Qualifying For Both Isn’t Easy
To begin, let’s understand that even though the monetary incentives provided by both schemes have the same effect of helping companies manage wage costs greatly, both the PCP and JGI are different schemes, that aim to encourage two different, but perhaps complementary outcomes.
For PCP, it is to send workers for structured training and prepare them to be relevant in the workforce for years to come. The JGI, on the other hand, wants to spur near-term jobs creation and promote employee retention.
Because the actions they wish to encourage are different, each scheme has its own extensive eligibility criteria.
In short, the JGI applies to new local hires between September 2020 and February 2021, and requires an overall increase in local workforce and an increase in local employees earning gross wages of at least $1,400. In order to enjoy the full 12-month subsidy of salaries, the company must continually meet the JGI eligibility criteria.
To be eligible for PCP, the new hire must have graduated or completed National Service for at least 2 years, and be hired and trained for a new job role that is substantially different from previous job roles, hence requiring reskilling for career conversion. Depending on the sector, there may be course-specific entry criteria or employer-specific eligibility requirements.
The government has explicitly said that JGI is complementary to career conversion programmes like PCP, though with adjustments to the payout schedule to encourage longer local employee retention. JGI will also be complementary to other schemes like the Jobs Support Scheme and P-Max.
Suppose We Qualify For Both PCP And JGI, How Will The Payouts Be Like?
For those who qualify for JGI and PCP funding, the total amount of funding you are eligible to receive from each scheme remains unchanged.
JGI subsidies will be paid out on a monthly basis, so long as the company continues to be eligible over the entire 12-month disbursement period.
Since the introduction of JGI, the disbursement period will be temporarily adjusted for employees that are placed into new positions as part of PCP. This will encourage companies to retain new local hires for a longer period of time, but total amount of funding they enjoy per hire will remain unchanged.
Specifically, for all new PCPs hires between 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2021, salary support disbursements originally meant for the PCP training duration will now be stretched to encompass both original training duration and a retention period, the duration of which is equivalent to the training duration.
For example, if the PCP training period is 6 months, there will be an additional 6 month retention period. This has the effect of halving the original monthly payout, resulting in a PCP salary support of between 35% to 45% per month (subject to caps).
If you combine this with the JGI salary support of between 25% to 50% (subject to caps), companies can up to 60% in wage subsidy a month for eligible employees under the age of 40 can receive, while wage subsidies for workers aged 40 and above can reach a whopping 95%. Again, this will be stretched out over a longer period rather than be paid in a single month.
Companies that are interested to apply for PCPs can do so at the Workforce Singapore website, while no action is required to receive JGI payouts. More information on JGI can be found on the IRAS website. Funding adjustments under PCP will also be done automatically.
You Also Qualify For Job Support Scheme (JSS)
Another scheme that is currently is place, but set to end by March 2021, is the Job Support Scheme (JSS). Introduced to combat the immediate ill effects of COVID-19, JSS payouts provide salary support for companies.
While this salary support (for the first $4,600) was up to 75% for their local workforce during the circuit breaker period earlier this year, it will be tapered off as the economy gradually improves.
On top of the PCP and JGI, newly hired employees will also be eligible for salary support under the JSS. In September 2020 to December 2020, JSS support will amount to: 75% for Tier 1 companies; 50% for Tier 2 companies and 10% for Tier 3 companies.
During January 2020 to March 2021, salary support for Tier 3 companies that are doing well go to 0%. The rest of the Tier 3 companies will continue to receive 10% salary support.
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