Almost one a half years after COVID-19 first was first reported in Singapore, the virus is still having a major impact on many businesses and our livelihood. Throughout the pandemic, the government has used the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to help businesses cope with labour costs and support the weak jobs market.
While the situation was improving at the start of 2021 as the economy, it took a turn for the worse in May 2021. This resulted in the tightening of safe management measures, and the government enhancing several support measures, including the JSS, to affected business sectors.
The latest KTV-linked cluster and Jurong Port Fishery cluster has plunged Singapore back into Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures from 22 July to 18 August 2021. As and when the government announces such tightening measures, it has been swiftly followed by an enhancement to the JSS support package.
JSS Package From 22 July to 18 August 2021
|Sectors with JSS enhancements during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 Heightened Alert||16 May to 11 Jul 2021||12 Jul to 21 Jul 2021||[NEW] 22 Jul to 18 Aug 2021||[NEW] 19 Aug to 31 Aug|
|Closed sectors or sectors with enhanced safe management measures|
– Food and Beverage
– Gyms and fitness studios
– Performing Arts & Arts Education
|Significantly Affected Sectors|
– Museums, art galleries and historical sites
– Family entertainment
– Affected personal care
You should also check your Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) Code to verify if your business falls under the eligible sector for the enhanced JSS payouts.
After this enhanced JSS support period (ending 31 August for now), the JSS payout level will revert to the original scheme until September 2021. The exact support levels are detailed below.
Of course, since we have already seen at least four revisions to the JSS support measure in the past few months, we can expect further enhancements if the COVID-19 situation worsens.
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 then 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. On the back of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) measures, the JSS was enhanced on an ad-hoc basis for affected sectors (discussed above). For now, this runs through 31 August 2021 – which also means there has been no further extension to the end of the scheme in 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 a percentage of wage support for the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to their local employees.
For sectors that are managing well, the Job Support Scheme ended in December 2020. The latest round of extension to the Jobs Support Scheme will be targeted only at the affected sectors. This means other sectors will continue to receive no support or the existing support.
|JSS Tier||Oct 2019 to Aug 2020 Wages||Sep to Dec 2020 Wages||Jan to Mar 2021 Wages||Apr to Jun 2021 Wage|
[Extended in Budget 2021]
|Jul to Sep 2021 Wages|
[Extended in Budget 2021]
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. This tier-based support is separate to the sector-based support provided during the current enhanced JSS payouts (discussed above).
- Tier 1: Aviation and Aerospace; and Tourism, Hospitality, Conventions and Exhibitions.
All sectors in Singapore received Tier 1 support for the months of Apr and May 2020 (during the Circuit Breaker).
The Built Environment sector was considered Tier 1 only for June 2020 to Sep 2020 wages. Thereafter 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 A 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.
Who Qualifies For The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)?
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, including sole proprietors and partners of general partnership, limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships, do not qualify for this payout.
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 seven main JSS payouts in 1) April 2020 (paid), 2) July 2020 (paid), 3) October 2020 (paid), March 2021 (paid), June 2021 (paid), September 2021 and December 2021. There was also a special payout in May 2020.
The enhanced payouts for Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) and Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) measures will be paid in the Sep 2021 payout (for Apr to July 2021 wage support) and the Dec 2021 payout (for Aug 2021 wage support).
|Month Of Payout||Payout Based On Wages Paid In||Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3|
|Apr 2020||Oct-Dec 2019||75%||50%||25%|
|Jul 2020||Feb-Mar 2020||75%||50%||25%|
|Apr 2020 (Circuit Breaker)||75%||75%||75%|
|Oct 20||May 2020 (Circuit Breaker)||75%||75%||75%|
|Mar 2021||Sep-Dec 2020||50%||30%||10%|
|Jun 2021||Jan-Mar 2021||50%||30%||3A: 10%; |
[Extended during Budget 2021]
[Extended during Budget 2021
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.
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.
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.
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