Most businesses have felt at least some of the ripple effects caused by COVID-19. With heavier restrictions being placed due to the rising number of cases is Singapore, many businesses, particularly those in retail or food and beverage industries, have felt the pressure now more than ever.
To remove some of the strain these businesses are feeling as COVID-19 restrictions are tightened, Lawrence Wong has announced that they will be receiving some relief. Affected businesses are set to receive around $650 million in rental waivers, wage subsidies, and other forms of support.
Though there have been concerns that this support, while much needed, will draw more from past reserves, this appears not to be the case. The money that is to be used to fund these support efforts is said be coming from the higher-than-expected revenues accumulated by the Government to date.
Wage Credit Support
The Singaporean Government introduced the Wage Credit Support Scheme in order to co-fund the wage increases given to Singaporean employees. In 2021, the Wage Credit Support Scheme was extended by a year in hopes of helping to support Singaporean citizens during these tough times.
To benefit from the wage credit scheme, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Employers who increase the salary of Singaporean employees by at least $50 per month, earning up to the Gross Monthly Wage ceiling (the gross wage ceiling for 2019 and 2020 was raised to $5,000)
- The CPF contributions for these employees during the year of the wage increase were made for at least three months
- Employees receiving an increase must have received CPF contributions for at least three months with one employer in the previous year
How To Apply
To apply for Wage Credit Support, employers may submit an online request via myTax Portal. It’s important to note that the government takes abuse of the Wage Credit Support Scheme very seriously, and anyone who is or intends to abuse the scheme should be reported immediately.
Jobs Support Scheme
The Job Support Scheme has been enhanced so that wage support has been increased to 25%, aiming to support sectors that have been affected by having to close completely or who still have significant safety measures implemented which may affect their ability to bring in revenue.
This support is tarted to sectors that were closed for long periods and still operate under heavy restrictions such as food and beverage establishments, fitness-related businesses such as gyms, as well as organizations in the performing arts. Businesses involved in tourism that have been affected by the sector’s decline will also be receiving this support. This includes tourist attractions, museums, licensed hotels, personal care services, and various family entertainment centers.
How To Apply
Employers do not need to apply for the Job Support Scheme. Any employer who is eligible will be notified by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) by mail. The notification will advise them regarding their support tier and the Job Support Scheme payout amount that is payable to them.
Tenants of government-owned properties will receive rental waivers under the Rental Support Scheme, which means their rent will be offset for the entire duration of COVID-19 restrictions from 27 September to 24 October 2021. A two-week rental waiver will be received by owner-occupiers and qualifying tenant-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties.
Businesses that will be offered a half-month rental waiver in November include qualifying tenants of government-owned commercial properties, as well as some cooked food and market stallholders. These stallholders must be in food centers managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators. The Rental Support Scheme will also give a half-month rental relief cash payout to tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately owned commercial properties.
How To Apply
Both tenants and owners must check their eligibility and submit an online application. If they applied for the previous payout, they need not reapply. These applicants, if eligible, will automatically receive the second payout.
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