The government introduced the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) in early 2020 to help businesses cope with labour costs and support the weak jobs market. This move likely helped many businesses ride out the downturn in 2020 – which was the worst recession in Singapore’s history – while keeping their employees as far as possible.
Close to two years since COVID-19 was first reported in Singapore, the virus is still having a major impact on many businesses and our livelihoods. Nevertheless, with a high vaccination rate and gradual easing of safe management measures, Singapore looks to be on track rebound strongly in 2021.
Most recently, Singapore entered a “Transition Phase” from 22 November 2021. While this is a positive after exiting a “Stabilisation Phase” that was in place for nearly two months since 27 September 2021, the government extended certain support schemes, including the JSS.
Enhanced JSS In Transition Phase (22 Nov – 19 Dec 2021)
|Sectors with JSS enhancements||16 May – 11 Jul||12 Jul – 21 Jul||22 Jul – 18 Aug||19 Aug -31 Aug||27 Sep – 21 Nov||[New] 22 Nov – 19 Dec|
|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
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.
Since we have already seen at least seven revisions to the JSS support measure in the past few months, we can expect further enhancements if the COVID-19 situation worsens. The main JSS support measure has already ended since September 2021.
What Is The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)?
The Jobs Support Scheme was first introduced at Budget 2020 and has been enhanced as a support measure for affected businesses whenever tightening measures are announced.
Initially slated to end in March 2021, the JSS was extended during Budget 2021 for the hardest-hit industries for up to 6 more months – till end-September 2021. This means the main JSS scheme has already ended.
Apart from providing cash flow support, the scheme hopes to help businesses retain local workers as Singapore navigates the current pandemic. Under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), 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 even earlier in December 2020. The latest round of extension to the Jobs Support Scheme will be targeted only at the affected sectors. Majority of sectors that are not deemed directly affected will not receive any JSS 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]
If there is evidence of irresponsible or unfair treatment of employees, employers may be denied employment support, including for JSS.
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 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.
Who Qualifies For The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)?
Employers who have made CPF contributions for their local employees are eligible for the payouts. Shareholders and/or directors of a company are also eligible if they are also 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 payouts under the JSS.
Especially in the recent targeted enhancements to the JSS scheme, support will be given to businesses in specific sectors, based on their SSIC Codes.
Do You Need To Apply 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, you can appeal at go.gov.sg/jss
How Many JSS Payouts Will We Receive?
You will receive a total of seven main JSS payouts in:
1) April 2020 (paid),
2) July 2020 (paid),
3) October 2020 (paid),
4) March 2021 (paid),
5) June 2021 (paid),
6) September 2021 (paid), and
7) December 2021
There was also a special payout in May 2020. The enhanced JSS payouts during August to October 2021 will be paid during the December 2021 payout. Since the JSS has been extended in December as well, we can expect there to be at least one additional payout that has yet to be announced. This will likely be for the November to December 2021 enhanced JSS payouts.
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 your registered business address. To receive your payouts faster, you can sign up for PayNow Corporate.
Payouts will be titled “Jobs Support Scheme” (GIRO) or “GOVT” (PayNow Corporate) in your bank account.
Returning Your JSS Payout
For business that wish to return your JSS payouts, you can do so via IRAS’ bank account:
Payee: Commissioner of Inland Revenue
Account Type: DBS Current Account
Account No.: 0010468669
DBS Swift Code: DBSSSGSG
Under the “Beneficiary Reference / Purpose of Payment / Remittance Information / Payment Details” field, indicate your business name and purpose (e.g. ABC Pte. Ltd. Decline JSS).
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. Another example is raising the CPF contribution for employees without providing a relevant raise to them. Artificially contributing CPF to individuals (such as family members) without the expectation of any work to be done will also be seen as fraudulent.
If employees are a recipient of a purported CPF contribution, it’s their responsibility to report any incorrect CPF contributions. Otherwise, employees 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 enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).
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