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Singapore Budget 2020: What Businesses Have to Know

As Singapore finds its way to adjust from the major economic uncertainties brought by COVID-19, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat has introduced the Singapore Budget 2020 that includes new measures to help individuals and businesses alike.

  • Resilience Budget

The Singapore government has allotted a $48 billion supplementary resilience budget to support Singaporeans and businesses alike. 

  • Solidarity Budget

Following the implementation of safety measures, closure of non-essential businesses and restricted interaction, the Singapore government has mobilised $5.1 billion to help Singaporeans and businesses to get through the time of circuit breaker. 

  • Fortitude Budget

Alongside the $60 billion in the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budget, the Singaporean government has funded an additional $33 billion in the Fortitude budget. This is to assist and help Singaporeans and businesses to recover as the economy re-opens. 

Singapore Budget 2020: What Businesses Have to Know
Singapore Budget 2020: What Businesses Have to Know

1. Singapore Budget 2020: COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG)

The COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) aims to help Singaporean Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) who are:
  • Presently unemployed due to contract termination or retrenchment
  • Placed on involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) for a minimum of three consecutive months
  • Experiencing at least 3% reduced in salary for a minimum of three consecutive months
An additional $800 million will be set aside for (CSG). Eligible recipients will receive up to $800 per month for 3 months.

2. Singapore Budget 2020: Stabilisation and Support Package

The Stabilisation and Support Package which was first introduced in the Budget 2020 will enhance its measures to provide better support and greater assurance to Singaporean workers and entrepreneurs. Apart from providing cash flow assistance, the Stabilisation and Support Package will assist companies in retraining workers and sharing productivity gains with them. 

1. Economy-wide measures for workers

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)
  • Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

Through the help of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), employers will be given the chance to retain their local employees during these trying times. JSS payouts are made to offset the wages of local employees and to protect their jobs as well.

Extension of the JSS

As announced in the Ministerial Statement on 17 Aug 2020 for the Continued Support for Workers and Jobs:Employers will receive between 25% to 75% salary co-funds on gross monthly wages paid to each local employee. This is subject to a capped of $4,600 per employee. The JSS will be extended to cover the wages up to Mar 2021 for most sectors, bringing the overall wage support under the JSS to 17 months.

JSS Support for Sept 2020 – Mar 2021

Tier 1: 50% wage support under JSS until Mar 2021Tier 2: 30% wage support under JSS until Mar 2021Tier 3:
  • Tier 3A: 10% wage support under JSS until Mar 2021
  • Tier 3B: 10% wage support under JSS only until Dec 2020
Employers will receive five main JSS payouts.
  • April 2020
  • May 2020 (special payout)
  • Jul 2020
  • Oct 2020
  • March 2021
  • Jun 2021
All sectors will receive Tier 1 support during the circuit breaker (April 2020-May 2020). However, firms that are still not allowed to resume operations after the circuit breaker will continue to receive Tier 1 support either until they are allowed to operate or until Mar 2021, whichever is earlier.
  • Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) [enhanced]
Under the enhanced Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) in the Singapore Budget 2020, the government co-funding wages have increased for 2019 and 2020, from 15% and 10% to 20% and 15% respectively. Furthermore, the gross monthly wage ceiling of $4,000 from the existing WCS will also be raised to $5,000 for both years.Employers will receive the payouts by 31 Mar of the payout year. On the other hand, employers who will benefit from the Budget 2020 enhancements under the 2019 wage increase will receive a separate supplementary payout by the second half of 2020.

2. Economy-wide measures to guide businesses with cash flow

  • Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Rebate

To help businesses with cash flow, the government will grant a CIT rebate of 25%, capped at $15,000 per company for Year of Assessment (YA) 2020 as part of the Singapore Budget 2020.
  • Enhancement of Tax Treatments under the Corporate Tax System.

Under the corporate tax system, several tax treatments will be enhanced for one year as part of the Singapore Budget 2020.
  1. Enterprises paying their CIT by GIRO can have two months of interest-free instalments given they file their Estimated Chargeable Income three months prior to their Financial Year End. this will apply to:
a. Those who file their ECI from 19  Feb 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.b. Those who file their ECI before 19 Feb 2020 with ongoing instalment payments due in Mar 2020.
  • Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan (EFS-WCL)

To help SMEs with their working capital needs, the government has raised the maximum loan quantum from $300,000 to $1 million. Moreover, the government’s risk share was also enhanced to 90% from 50% and 70% for loans initiated from 8 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.

3. Singapore Budget 2020: Enhancements to Adapt and Grow Initiatives

To help sectors that are greatly affected by COVID-19, WSG has enhanced support under the Adapt and Grow initiative. The affected sectors include hotel, retail, food services, tourism, and air transport. These sectors will receive support through redevelopment programmes which will be extended from three months to a maximum of six months.Existing redeployment programmes include:
  1. Job Redesign Place-and-Train (PnT) Programme for Hotel Industry
  2. Job Redesign PnT Programme for Retail
To continuously support redeployment, WSG will also introduce a set of new programmes in the Singapore Budget 2020:
  1. Job Redesign PnT Programme for Food Services Industry
  2. Digital Marketing PnT Programme
  3. Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE), Attractions and Tour and Travel
  4. PCP for Digital Operations Talents for the Furniture Industry
  5. PnT Programme for Air Transport Coordinators

4. Singapore Budget 2020: Next Bound of SkillsFuture

To support its people as they acquire new skills, the Singapore government will provide a $500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up for all Singaporeans aged 25 and above. As part of the Singapore Budget 2020, this top-up can be used starting 1 Oct 2020 for the full range of SkillsFuture Credit-eligible courses and will expire on 31 Dec 2020.
  • SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC)

To continuously encourage employers to embark on enterprise and workforce transformation, a new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) will be introduced as well.Eligible employers will receive a one-off $10,000 credit which they can use to cover up to 90% of out-of-pocket cost for enterprise capability development and workforce transformation programmes.
  • SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package

To build more career opportunities for locals in their 40s and 50s, the government has introduced the new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package in the Singapore Budget 2020. The Singapore Budget 2020 covers the following initiatives:
  • Increase the capacity of reskilling programmes
  • Provide a hiring incentive to employers who hire local job seekers aged 40 and above through a reskilling programme
  • Grant SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career Support)
  • Make peer-level support and career guidance possible through volunteer career advisors.

5. Singapore Budget 2020: Productivity Solutions Grant for Job Redesign (PSG-JR)

On top of the one-off $10,000 credit per company under the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC), participating companies can also receive funding support for Productivity Solutions Grant for Job Redesign (PSG-JR) of up to 70% capped at $30,000 per firm. 

PSG-JR encourages companies to work with pre-approved consultants to redesign work processes. This can help job responsibilities look appealing to employees, and in turn, help companies to hire and retain good workers. 

6. Singapore Budget 2020: Senior Worker Support Package

To continue its support for lifelong employability, the government has introduced the new Senior Worker Support Package on its Singapore Budget 2020.

  • Senior Employment Credit

Through the Senior Employment Scheme, the government will provide wage offsets to companies that will employ senior Singaporean workers aged 55 and above. Depending on the worker’s age and salary, employers can get up to 8% of the wages given to senior employees aged 55 and above. This will apply to senior workers earning up to $4,000.   

Wage Offsets under Senior Employment Credit

Age

2021

2022

55-59

Up to 2%

Up to 1%

60-64

Up to 3%

Up to 3%

65-66

Up to 5%

Up to 5%

67 and above

Up to 8%

Up to 8%

 

  • CPF Transition Offset

The Singaporean government will provide a one-year CPF Transition Offset of 0.25 to 0.5 percent of wages to employers who will hire Singaporean and Permanent Resident workers aged 55 to 70. This is to support employers as the business costs rise due to the increase in CPF contribution rates. The CPF transition Offset will be effective from 1 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2021. 

  • Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant

The Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant provides up to $250,000 funding support to progressive employers who are willing and able to implement higher retirement age (RA) and re-employment ages (REA) above the prevailing statutory ages. 

  • Part-time Re-employment Grant

The Part-time Re-employment Grant provides up to $125,000 aid to employers who can accommodate the request of eligible senior workers for part-time re-employment opportunities. Eligible companies can get $2,500 per senior worker with a total finding capped at 50 senior workers per firm. The application for the Part-time Re-employment Grant is open from 1 July 2020. 

7. Singapore Budget 2020: Enabling Employment Credit (EEC) for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

To continuously support the employment of persons with disabilities (PWDs), the government has introduced the Enabling Employment Credit (EEC). This new scheme will replace the wage offsets under the Special Employment Credit (SEC) and Additional SEC as they expire in Dec 2020. 

The EEC will be granted to employers with Singaporean PWD workers aged 13 and above with earnings below $3,000 per month. Furthermore, an additional wage offset for the first six months of employment will be given to employers who hire a PWD who has been unemployed for the past six months.

Singapore Budget 2020: Takeaway

Singapore Budget 2020: Takeaway

With the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the globe, 2020 can be considered as one of the most challenging years in history. For Singaporean employers and workers, this isn’t the end of the tunnel. The government is behind them, keeping them afloat.  

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