Here’s What You Need To Know About The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

Jobs Support Scheme provides wage support for employers in Singapore

This article was first published on 20 April 2020 and has been updated with the latest enhancement to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) measures.

More than a year after COVID-19 first was first reported in Singapore, it is still having a major impact on many businesses and livelihood. During Budget 2021, one of the measures to continue combating COVID-19 was to extend the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for another up to 6 months for the hardest-hit sectors. This is expected to cost $700 million.

On 28 May 2021, the JSS was enhanced on the back of tighter safe management measures for Phase 2 (heightened alert). As the transition into Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) is a 2-step process, the JSS was further enhanced for businesses still restricted after the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) on 14 June to 20 June 2021.

Read Also: It Hasn’t Been Business As Usual For “Non-Affected” Sectors In Singapore

Here’s how the “affected” sectors will be able to leverage on JSS:

1) Food and beverage: Businesses classified under SSICs 56 and 68104. Individual business owners will also be provided this support measure if they make CPF contributions for their employees.

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 10% to 50%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

2) Performing arts and arts education: Business classified under SSICs 85420, 90001, 90002, 90003, 90004 or 90009 AND meet at least one of the conditions of being a:

(i) participant in a project, activity, programme or festival supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) or National Heritage Board (NHB) between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021; or

(ii) Museum Roundtable member before 31 March 2021; or

(iii) accredited Arts Education Programme (AEP) provider listed in the 2019- 2022 NAC-AEP Directory; or

(iv) has more than two-thirds of its business in arts/heritage related activities (as defined by one of the 6 qualifying SSICs in criterion 2);

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 10% to 50%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

3) Affected gyms and fitness studios: Businesses classified under SSIC 93111, 93119, 93120 or 85410 AND operate sports- and/or fitness-related programmes that are

(i) conducted indoors without masks on prior to Phase 2(Heightened Alert); or 

(ii) for those 18 years and under prior to Phase 2(Heightened Alert).

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 0% to 50%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

4) Retail: Businesses classified under SSICs 47191, 47199, 474, 475, 476, 4771, 47721, 4773,4774, 47752, 47759, 47761, 47769, 4777, 47802, or 4799 AND have a physical storefront.

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 10% to 30%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

5) Cinema operators: Businesses classified under SSIC 5914 AND hold a valid Film Exhibition licence from the Infocomm Media DevelopmentAuthority (IMDA)

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 10% to 30%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

6) Museums, art galleries and historical sites: Businesses classified under SSICs 91021, 91022, 91029 AND meet at least one of the conditions of being a:

(i) participant in a project, activity, programme or festival supported by the National Arts Council (NAC) or National Heritage Board (NHB) between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2021;

(ii) Museum Roundtable member before 31 March 2021; or

(iii) accredited Arts Education Programme (AEP) provider listed in the 2019-2022 NAC-AEP Directory; or

(iv) has more than two-thirds of its business in arts/heritage related activities (as defined by one of the 6 qualifying SSICs in criterion 2)

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 10% to 30%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

7) Indoor playgrounds and other family entertainment centres: Businesses classified under SSICs 93201 or 93209 AND operate family entertainment centres or family attractions-related businesses.

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 0% to 30%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

8) Affected Personal Care Services: Businesses classified under SSIC 96022 or 96029 AND have physical storefronts AND Operate personal care services that require masks to be removed

JSS level:

  • From 16 May to 20 June 2021, JSS increased from 0% to 30%
  • From 21 June to 30 June 2021, JSS at 10%

9) Businesses that are also significantly affected by the tightened measures in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) can appeal for enhanced JSS support at go.gov.sg/jss

Read Also: What is Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) Code And Why It Matters?

Thereafter, from July to September 2021, the JSS payout level will revert to the original scheme, which is listed below.

What Is The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)?

The Jobs Support Scheme was first introduced at Budget 2020 and was further enhanced at the Resilience, Solidarity and Fortitude Budgets. A further update to extend the Job Support Scheme till March 2021 was made on 17 August 2020 during a Ministerial Statement delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

In the recent Budget 2021 announcement, the JSS was extended for the hardest-hit industries for up to 6 more months – till end-September 2021.

Apart from providing cash flow support, the scheme hopes to help businesses retain local workers during this period.

Under the Jobs Support Scheme, businesses will receive wage support for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to their local employees. This includes all your Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident (PR) employees.

For sectors that are managing well, the Job Support Scheme will ended in December 2020. The latest round of extension to the Jobs Support Scheme will be targeted at at the hardest-hit sectors.

During the months of April and May 2020, all businesses received 75% in wage support (capped at the first $4,600 of wages) to tide through the circuit breaker period. This was enhancement from the Solidarity Budget.

Businesses then received co-funding based on the tier that they belonged to, for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages.

JSS TierOct 2019 to Aug 2020 WagesSep to Dec 2020 WagesJan to Mar 2021 WagesApr to Jun 2021 Wage
[Extended in Budget 2021]
Jul to Sep 2021 Wages
[Extended in Budget 2021]
Tier 175%50%50%30%10%
Tier 250%30%30%10%0%
Tier 3A25%10%10%0%0%
Tier 3B25%10%0%0%0%
Source: IRAS

Read Also: August 2020 Ministerial Statement: 4 Announcements To Further Support Businesses And Workers In Singapore

Which Tier Does My Business Belong To?

Businesses are tiered according to the impact that COVID-19 has caused, for instance, the aviation and tourism sectors have been severely hit by travel restrictions. Under the Fortitude Budget in 2020, various sectors were added to Tiers 1 & 2.

Tier 1: Aviation and Aerospace; and Tourism, Hospitality, Conventions and Exhibitions.

The Built Environment sector was considered Tier 1 only for June 2020 to Sep 2020 wages. There after it qualified for Tier 2 wage support.

Tier 2: Food Services; Retail; Arts & Entertainment, Land Transport, Marine and Offshore.

Tier 3 is broken down into Tier 3A and Tier 3B

Tier 3A: All other employers (apart from those listed in Tier 3B).

Tier 3B: Biomedical Sciences; Precision Engineering; Electronics; Financial Services; Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Media; Retail.

Month Of PayoutPayout Based On Wages Paid InTier 1Tier 2Tier 3
Apr 2020Oct-Dec 201975%50%25%
Jul 2020Feb-Mar 202075%50%25%
Apr 2020 (Circuit Breaker)75%75%75%
Oct 20May 2020 (Circuit Breaker)75%75%75%
Jun-Aug 202075%50%25%
Mar 2021Sep-Dec 202050%30%10%
Jun 2021Jan-Mar 202150%30%3A: 10%;
3B: 0%
Sep 2021
[Extended during Budget 2021]
Apr-Jun 202130%10%0%
Dec 2021
[Extended during Budget 2021
Jul-Sep 202110%0%0%
Source: IRAS

The latest round of enhanced JSS support measures for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) will fall under payout made in September 2021.

Who Qualifies For The Jobs Support Scheme?

Employers who have made CPF contributions for their local employees are eligible for the payout. Shareholders and/or directors of a company are also eligible if they are salaried employees of the company with an Assessable Income of $100,000 or less for the Year of Assessment 2019.

Business owners do not qualify for this payout, including sole proprietors and partners of general partnership, limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships.

Employers trading in their own personal capacity, such as hawkers who do not have UEN, or those hiring local personal drivers or domestic helpers, will not be able to claim wage payout.

Especially for the recent targeted enhancements to the JSS scheme on the back of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), support will be given to businesses in specific sectors, based on their SSIC Codes.

Applying For The Jobs Support Scheme

You do not need to apply for the Jobs Support Scheme. If you are eligible, IRAS will notify you by post the tier that your business belongs to, and the amount of payout you will get. To view your Jobs Support Scheme letters, you may visit this IRAS website.

For businesses that do not automatically qualify for the latest enhancements to the JSS scheme for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), you can appeal at go.gov.sg/jss

When Will We Receive JSS Payouts?

You will receive a total of five main JSS payouts in April 2020,  July 2020, October 2020, March 2021 and June 2021. There was also a special payout in May 2020. During Budget 2021, the JSS was extended, and there were two more payout dates added – September 2021 and December 2021.

Month Of PayoutPayout Based On Wages Paid InTier 1Tier 2Tier 3
Apr 2020Oct-Dec 201975%50%25%
Jul 2020Feb-Mar 202075%50%25%
Apr 2020 (Circuit Breaker)75%75%75%
Oct 20May 2020 (Circuit Breaker)75%75%75%
Jun-Aug 202075%50%25%
Mar 2021Sep-Dec 202050%30%10%
Jun 2021Jan-Mar 202150%30%3A: 10%;
3B: 0%
Sep 2021
[Extended during Budget 2021]
Apr-Jun 202130%10%0%
Dec 2021
[Extended during Budget 2021
Jul-Sep 202110%0%0%
Source: IRAS

The payouts will be credited to the GIRO bank account that employers used for income tax or GST. For those without GIRO accounts, you will receive the payout via the bank account registered with PayNow Corporate. If you do not have both of the options above, the payout will be made by cheque. To receive your payouts faster, you can sign up for PayNow Corporate.

Read Also: What Is PayNow For Business And 3 Reasons Why Businesses Should Adopt It Soon

How Are JSS Payouts Computed?

Regardless of which tier you belong to, the wage payout will only be paid for the first $4,600 of your employee’s gross monthly wages.

Assuming that Employee A earns $5,000 a month, and belongs under Tier 3, you will receive 10% of the first $4,600 from September 2020 to March 2021. The remaining $400 will not receive any wage support.

Payouts are computed based on past wages. For the first payout in April 2020, IRAS computes the amount based on wages paid from October 2019.

The table below shows how IRAS computes the payout for subsequent months.

SOURCE: IRAS

With this in mind, companies should understand that any pay cuts made during this period will affect their total payout from the scheme.

IRAS has stated that the 75% wage support for Apr/May 2020 wages was calculated based on Oct/Nov 2019 wages to allow for employers to receive the payouts faster. Subsequently, for the second and third payouts, it will be adjusted based on the difference between Apr/May 2020 and Oct/Nov 2019 wages. This means that any layoffs or pay cuts will be reflected in a lower amount of payouts.

If there are any negative quantum from Payout 2, it will be adjusted accordingly in Payout 3. Otherwise, it will be offset from your overall payout from the Jobs Support Scheme. That means it is likely to be deducted from the payouts of your other workers.

Abuse Of Jobs Support Scheme

IRAS takes a very serious view on employers who may be trying to abuse the JSS to receive JSS payouts. For example, employers cannot make CPF contributions to people who are not working for them to get JSS payout.

Similarly, employers cannot cut the wages of employees, yet continue to maintain CPF contribution at the original level to enjoy higher JSS payout. If you are a recipient of a purported CPF contribution, it’s your responsibility to report any incorrect CPF contributions. Otherwise, you may be seen as an accomplice to the fraud.

Read Also: Abusing The Jobs Support Scheme: 6 Things IRAS Is Warning Companies NOT To Do

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