COVID-19: How SMEs can Take Advantage of the Enhanced Workfare Training Support Scheme and Enhanced Absentee Payroll Grant

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Enhanced Workfare Training Support Scheme and Enhanced Absentee Payroll Grant

In our battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Singapore government has provided many initiatives to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and their employees. As mentioned over and over again in all four Budgets this year, the key areas of support for businesses are Cost, Cash flow, and Credit. Moreover, before considering to retrench or downsize their staff, SMEs should work towards retaining them during these difficult times.

The Pain Points of SMEs during Covid-19

The four major pain points that the majority of SMEs are experiencing now are Cash flow issues, business sustainability, excess manpower and operations downtime. 

We have been talking about Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), Enhanced Work Life Grant (WLG), P-Max Grant, Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), Government-assisted Loan Facilities, Enterprise Development Grant (EDG), and the list could go on and on and on… These will help to defray some costs and hopefully ease cash flow as well. 

SMEs are also encouraged to re-look into their current business models, and develop new business and marketing strategy plans on how to operate during and post-Covid business environment, so as to ensure sustainability and continuity. 

So how do we solve the problems of having excess manpower and operations downtime during this period, without retrenching or downsizing?  

Enhanced Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme and Enhanced Absentee Payroll (AP)

Do you know that by sending your local employees (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents employees) for SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)-funded training courses, this could help your company to create a net cash surplus situation? 

Enhanced Training Support covers 90% of course fees for certifiable courses approved by SSG. 

Absentee Payroll funding is a grant to help employers defray their manpower costs incurred when they send their employees for certifiable skills training. For training outside working hours, AP funding will be based on the overtime pay that is supposed to be paid to employees. Enhanced AP funding support is at 90% of hourly basic salary capped at S$10 per trainee hour for all sectors.

For Singaporean employees who are aged 35 years and above, and earning S$2,000 or less a month, they will be under the WTS Scheme where AP funding support is at 95% of hourly basic salary for WTS eligible courses only. Click here to find out what are the courses available.

For more information, please also refer to FAQs for Enhanced Training Support Package.


SMEs only need to pay the net course fees after subsidy, and the appointed training partners will disburse the enhanced AP funding to eligible companies once their employees have completed the training and passed the assessment.

Example of how a Net Cash Surplus could be generated by attending training courses:

For a 30 years old Singaporean employee earning S$1,800 a month, eligible for AP funding 90%, and attended a 2-day training course of 16 hours in total.

Full Course Fee


Course subsidy 90%


GST Payable


Nett Fee Payable


Absentee Payroll

(90% of salary or up to $10/hr)  


(Fee Payable) / Surplus


Due to Covid-19, business could not operate as per normal, hence the company sends this employee for courses daily - 11 modules of 16 hour = 22 working days, for example. This company also receives 75% JSS wage payout as it is categorized under severely impacted sectors by Covid-19.





CPF contribution by employer (17%)


A + B = C

Total Salary with CPF



Surplus from a 16-hour course

x 11 modules (22 days)

$115.80 x 11 = $1,273.80


75% JSS wage support for severely impacted businesses


D + E - C

Surplus for Employer


From the above illustration, we can see that by taking advantage of the Enhanced Workfare Training Support Scheme and Enhanced Absentee Payroll, SMEs and their employees could make the best out of the schemes to create a win-win situation for both - Net cash surplus for the companies, while employees are equipped with better knowledge and skills. 

This will not only help companies to survive during this difficult time, but help them thrive and be ready for the post Covid-19 period.

And this is all legit, of course.

Once again, Smart Towkay is here to provide SMEs with the necessary information, and we hope to build an ecosystem where businesses can help one another. We do not represent Workforce Singapore or any Government bodies. Hence, please find out with relevant departments regarding the courses available and the exact subsidies your company is entitled to. 



Not sure whether your company can be qualified for bank loans or alternative lending? Try our A.I assisted loan, and Smart Towkay team will send you a lending report within 24 hours' time. With the lending report, we aggregate and recommend the highest chance of approval be it with BANKS / FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS or Alternative lenders like Peer to Peer Lenders or even B2B lender!

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UPDATED AS OF 15 Jun 2024
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