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Government Incentives To Support Disability Employment 2020
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected everyone. However some have been strained more so than others.
For people with disabilities, holding a job and making a decent living are already difficult undertakings at the best of times. The coronavirus crisis has only exacerbated their struggles – people with disabilities are often at a disadvantage should their current place of employment look to retrench workers due to cost cutting measures. Indeed, the resident employment rate for people with disabilities is only 28.6 per cent.
In addition, options to upgrade their skills by attending courses funded by SkillsFuture credits have been severely limited as almost all these courses are for the able-bodied.
Even safe distancing regulations – an extortionate annoyance for the best of us – could cause tremendous trouble for those who often rely on help from friends or family outside the household to take care of their basic needs.
It is safe to say that people with disabilities (PWD) require more help to effectively tackle the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Grants And Subsidies To Support Employment
Socially conscious employers who are looking to help foster a more inclusive society where no Singaporean gets left behind may be heartened to learn that the government has not been sitting on its laurels. Grants and subsidies do exist to help employers hire person with disabilities (PWD).
Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the government will provide the higher tier of wage support - 50 per cent - under the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) to all persons with disabilities.
Under the JGI scheme, the government funds between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of the wages of each new local hire in firms that increase their total local headcount from September 2020 to February 2021. The support is for the first S$5,000 of gross monthly wages, for up to 12 months.
Eligible employers will automatically receive their JGI payouts, which will be computed on a monthly basis based on the employer’s mandatory CPF contributions. However, some employers may receive review letters from IRAS to further substantiate their eligibility.
Eligible employers will start receiving the first JGI payout from March 2021 onwards.
P-Max is a Place-and-Train Programme that aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to better recruit, train, manage and retain their newly-hired PMETs, through encouraging the adoption of progressive human resource practices within SMEs. This programme is administered by the Workforce Advancement Federation (WAF), which is appointed by Workforce Singapore (WSG).
If your company has recently hired a PMET (within the last 3 months), and successfully retains the PMET for at least 6 months after attending the programme, you will be eligible for a one-time Assistance Grant of S$5,000 for hiring Singaporeans and PRs. The grant has also been enhanced - P-Max for Older Worker - to allow eligible SMEs to claim up to S$10,000 for hiring Singaporeans aged 50 and above.
Please note that the Assistance Grant is capped at S$5,000, or S$10,000 for SMEs under P-Max for Older Worker, regardless of the number of PMETs hired & retained under P-Max. Companies who previously have received S$5,000 P-Max grant will only be eligible for an additional $5,000 under P-Max for Older Workers.
Please note that the P-Max Grant is eligible for each company, not per headcount.
Register For Your PMAX Grant Here!
Open Door Programme (ODP) Grant
Administered by SG Enable, the Open Door Programme (ODP) Grant is a government funded initiative by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Workforce Singapore (WSG). It aims to encourage employers to hire, train and integrate persons with disabilities.
A variety of grants and employment support services are available for ODP-registered employers:
1) Job Redesign Grant
This grant helps employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities (PWD) by supporting up to 90% of the job redesign costs, capped at $20,000 per employee with disability, whichever is lower. It can be used to defray the cost for the following job redesign initiatives:
- Purchase of equipment
- Workplace modifications
- Redesigning of job scopes or processes
- Consultancy Servicee
To apply for the Job Redesign Grant, employers are to complete the Job Redesign Application Form and email it to email@example.com.
2) Recruitment, Job Placement and Job Support Services
Employers who register on the ODP Job Portal, will receive recruitment assistance from SG Enable and its appointed partners. For every person with disabilities (PWD) placed by them, up to 1 year of job support will be provided.
3) Inclusive Business Programme
This programme supports inclusive businesses through direct allocation of HDB shop spaces, where at least 20% of hired workforce are persons with disabilities (PWD). In addition, SMEs will enjoy a 20% rental discount for their first three years of tenancy.
Interested businesses are to complete the Inclusive Business Programme Application Form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Training Grant
Employers are encouraged to support their employees with disabilities to upgrade their skills through training.
a. Training Course Fee
Employers can receive funding of up to 90% of the course fee when they send their employees with disabilities for training programmes supported by SG Enable.
b. Course Fee for co-workers
Employers can receive funding of up to 90% funding when they send their employees without disabilities to attend workshops/courses to build confidence in working with colleagues with disabilities.
From 1 July 2020, the Training Grant will be enhanced to provide greater training support for persons with disabilities. Please refer to WSG’s website for more information.
Special Employment Credit
The Special Employment Credit (SEC) was introduced as a Budget Initiative in 2011 to support employers in hiring older Singaporean workers and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Under this programme, employers that hire Singaporean persons with disabilities earning up to $4,000 a month can receive a Special Employment Credit (SEC) of up to 16% of the employee’s monthly wages.
This Budget Initiative expires at the end of 2020, whereupon it will be replaced by the Enabling Employment Credit.
Employment Support for Persons with Disabilities
Also administered by SG Enable, this is a programme supported by Workforce Singapore to provide people with disabilities with career advisory services, training courses and post placement job support.
For employers, this programme provides course fee subsidies of up to 95% for SG Enable’s list of curated training courses to support PwDs’ training efforts to enhance their employability and employment options.
There will also be a training allowance of up to S$6.00 per hour for the employee undergoing training, which is something to be taken into account by employers.
Valued Assets To Employers
Ultimately, incentives have been provided to encourage the hiring of people with disabilities, and far from simply performing a social service, companies who do hire people with disabilities have benefitted from the additions to their workforce.
Efforts to support the disabled community will continue to strengthen. SkillsFuture Singapore, for instance, has been working with training providers to expand the range of industry-relevant courses for disabled people.
As such, employers would do well to keep persons with disabilities in mind when seeking for hiring options.