JSS

The enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) will be provided to affected gyms, fitness studios, performing arts organisations, and arts education centres at 50%.

Businesses and individuals in Singapore who have had their livelihoods affected by Phase Two (Heightened Alert) [P2(HA)] will be assisted by an S$800mn support package, which comprises:

  • Enhancements to the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for sectors affected during the Phase Two: Heightened Alert period
  • Rental relief that goes beyond hawker stalls and coffee shops to include impacted SMEs
  • Targeted help to affected individuals, i.e. lower to middle income employees and self-employed persons.

These new measures were announced by the Ministry of Finance on 28 May 2021, and are to be followed by "a fuller update on our latest assessment of the public health situation, as well as our next moves” in a press conference on 31 May 2021 (Monday).

Minister of Finance, Lawrence Wong highlighted that the enhancements are not drawn from the Republic’s past reserves. “Because most parts of the economy are still operating, businesses and individuals have learned to adapt,” he said.

“Under such a circumstance, I do not think we should be going to the President to seek permission to draw on our past reserves.”

Below are details on each new area of support that the MOF has announced.

Enhancements to JSS: Eligibility and payout date

According to the MOF, businesses affected by Heightened Alert, due to reduced or suspended operations from 16 May to 13 June 2021, are entitled to one of two tiers of JSS: 50% and 30%.

For the unacquainted, JSS provides wage support to employers for the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees. With it initially capped at 10%.

Per the enhancements, employers from the following sectors are entitled to JSS (50%):

  • Food and beverage (licensed food shops and food stalls)
  • Performing arts & arts education
  • Sports (gyms & sports facilities)*

*The JSS support will replace the operating grant for gyms and fitness studios under the Sports Resilience Package (SRP).

On the other hand, employers who are entitled to JSS (30%) include:

  • Qualifying retail outlets (not eligible - supermarkets, convenience stores, and online retailers)
  • Cinema operators
  • Museums, art galleries, & historical sites
  • Family entertainment centres
  • Affected personal care services

The enhanced JSS payouts, based on wages paid in April to June 2021, will be disbursed to qualified employers in September 2021.

Businesses that would like to appeal for enhanced JSS support may do so here.

Rental support

The S$800mn support package has expanded rental relief to SMEs and eligible NPOs with an annual revenue not exceeding S$100mn, who are tenant-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties.

For Government-owned commercial properties, qualifiying tenants will benefit from one month of rental relief. This is aligned to the rental waiver for hawker stalls and coffee shops provided during this P2(HA) period

On the other hand, tenants in privately-owned commercial properties will benefit from a half-month rental relief cash payout, disbursed directly to qualifying tenants as part of a new Rental Support Scheme.

The payout will be disbursed starting from mid-August 2021, and computed based on the latest contractual gross rent within the period 14 May 2021 to 29 May 2021. IRAS will provide more details of the Rental Support Scheme and application process on its website by mid-June 2021.

“Separately, property owners who run an SME business or NPO on their own property will also be eligible for the cash payout, computed based on the Annual Value of the property (or part of) for Year 2021 as at 14 May 2021,” said MOF in its press release.

Support for individuals

Besides businesses, the government package also extends support to individuals, mainly through the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) (CRG-T) scheme and the suspension of student loan repayments.

The former provides one-off support for lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed persons who are financially impacted as a result of Heightened Alert.

Individuals who experience at least one month of involuntary no-pay-leave (NPL), or income loss of at least 50% for at least one month are eligible for CRG-T.

The CRG-T payouts are as follows:

  • Those who are affected by NPL can receive a one-off payout not higher than S$700;
  • Those who experienced income loss can receive a one-off payout not higher than S$500.

Applications for CRG-T will be open from 3 June to 2 July 2021.

For graduates, MOE is extending the suspension of student loan repayment and interest charges by another four months, until 30 September 2021.

This announcement comes from the earlier suspension of repayments for all autonomous university and polytechnic graduates for one year, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021.

Another support the package provides is the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund, a payout to taxi and private hire car drivers from 16 May 2021 to 30 June 2021. It is increased from $450 to $750 per month.

In sharing all of these new measures, Minister Wong highlighted: “The package of support measures will cost the Government S$800mn. The Government will fund this through reallocation from development expenditure, as some of these will be capitalised under the recently passed Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act (SINGA) Bill."

Image/SGPC

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