mployers in Singapore to receive S$840mn in payouts under Wage Credit Scheme (WCS)

Totalling S$840mn, the March 2022 payouts will see the Government co-fund 15% of qualifying wage increases given in 2021, 2020, and 2019 to more than 780,000 Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$5,000.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), on 22 March 2022 (Tuesday), announced that S$840mn in payouts will be disbursed to over 99,000 employers in Singapore under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) by 31 March 2022. This, the government body said, is the final tranche of payout under the WCS.

For context, the WCS was extended by one year in Singapore's Budget 2021, to support wage increments to help companies build up their local workforce, and emerge stronger from COVID-19. IRAS shared that over S$2bn in wage credits had been disbursed in 2020 and 2021 to support employers during the pandemic.

For the upcoming payout in March 2022, employers can note that the Government will co-fund 15% of qualifying wage increases given in 2021, 2020, and 2019 to more than 780,000 Singaporean employees who are earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$5,000. 

IRAS noted that employers do not need to apply to receive the payouts. Meanwhile, eligible employers will be notified by 31 March 2022 informing them of their payout amount. The payouts will be credited directly to employers’ registered bank accounts through PayNow Corporate, which companies can sign up for by linking their company UEN (without suffix) to their bank account via internet banking, or GIRO, which can be the default payment mode for IRAS-related transactions.

The government body also reminded that any appeals regarding WCS payouts must be submitted to IRAS by 30 June 2022, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Those who require more information on WCS can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Q Who is eligible?

  • Employers can qualify for WCS payouts for the calendar year of 2021 if they give an increase of at least S$50 in monthly wage (up to the gross monthly wage ceiling) to Singapore Citizen employees who:
    • Are on their payroll for at least three months in the qualifying year, and
    • Received CPF contributions for at least three months in the preceding year.

  • Employees on the payroll of a different employer in the preceding year can still qualify under the new employer for WCS, if they are on the payroll of the new employer for at least three months in the qualifying year.

  • Singapore Citizen employees who received CPF contributions, including full-time, part-time, and hourly rated employees, are covered by the WCS.

  • Employers in the following government-related entities or entities not registered in Singapore are not eligible for the WCS:

    • Local government agencies, including organs of state, ministries and departments, statutory boards
    • Government and government-aided schools
    • People’s Association services and grassroots units
    • High commissions, embassies, trade offices, consulates
    • Unregistered local/foreign entities
    • Foreign military units
    • Representative offices of foreign companies, foreign government agencies, foreign trade associations, foreign chambers, foreign non-profit organisations, and foreign law practices
    • Bank representative offices/insurance representative offices/other financial representative offices (registered with MAS)
    • News bureaus (which are representative offices)
    • International organisations

Q What wage increases qualify for WCS payouts?

Wage increases are computed on an annual basis, based on the difference between the gross monthly wage of an employee in the qualifying year and the gross monthly wage of the employee in the preceding year. For each qualifying year, WCS payouts will be paid to the eligible employer for all the months in the year in which CPF contributions are made by him for the covered employee.

For the 2022 payout, new wage increases given to employees in 2021 over 2020, as well as sustained wage increases previously given to covered employees in 2020 over 2019, and in 2019 over 2018, will qualify for WCS payouts. All wage increases and sustained wage increases must be at least S$50 to qualify for WCS payouts.

Q Will eligible employers receive WCS payouts if they do not use GIRO or PayNow Corporate?

No, these employers will have their WCS payouts retained until they have successfully registered for GIRO for Income Tax/GST or PayNow Corporate. Payouts will be automatically released after the employers have successfully registered for either e-payout modes. There is no need to inform IRAS. Unclaimed payouts will be retained in the employer's WCS account until 30 Sep 2022. Employers will no longer be eligible to claim the payouts after that.

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