The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), its affiliated unions and associations as well as the Singapore government are collectively committing S$25mn as part of the NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19), in a one-off relief of up to S$300 per union member. This was announced on Thursday, 18 March 2020.
The NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19) is applicable to the following groups of union members:
- Those who are retrenched with retrenchment benefits of not more than $6,500;
- Members who originally earned up to S$3,400 gross monthly personal income (GPI) for those with dependents or up to S$1,500 GPI for those without dependents; and are either:
- Suffering from an income drop of at least 30% of their monthly salary/earnings due to COVID-19, or
- Self-employed persons whose incomes have been adversely affected due to COVID-19 related job or event cancellations.
- Eligible union members will receive between S$50 to S$300 worth of one-off cash relief, as illustrated in the table below. An estimate of 108,000 union members are expected to benefit.
- Union members can apply for NTUC Care Fund (COVID-19) and other assistance programmes with their respective unions or via the NTUC membership from 25 March to 30 September 2020.
Apart from the above, affected union members will also have access to a range of other existing programmes, in receiving additional assistance for daily expenses as well as to encourage them to utilise any downtime for skills upgrading. These include:
CapitaLand-U Care Resilience and Enablement (CAP+Ure) Fund
The fund provides interim support for workers impacted by a sudden loss in income, to help support their children’s daily necessities and schooling needs2. Each eligible child will receive a one-time disbursement of S$250 NTUC FairPrice vouchers.
Existing members can also apply for LIFT-UP Pathfinder, which provides customised training worth up to S$500, to members with the intent to lift themselves out of their current circumstances and bring about more sustained improvements to their lives.
Union Training Assistance Programme
The Union Training Assistance Programme is a training benefit that helps union members defray 50% of unfunded course fees for up to S$250 per year.
Commenting on this while distributing care packs to workers at Gardens by the Bay, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng said: “With the recent COVID-19 developments, our workers have shared that their biggest concerns centre around sustaining their livelihoods and caring for their loved ones. This is especially so for our lower-income members as well as the sandwiched generation with multiple dependents.
“With the cash relief provided by the Care Fund, together with other assistance programmes that NTUC is availing to our workers, we hope to ease their burden even for a while, and continue to help them in the areas of training and employability support so that they can remain relevant and ready for when the upturn comes.”
Photo / provided (Pictured in red: NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng)