Introducing Unemployment Support In Budget 2023? What Can We Expect

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Unemployment Support In Singapore Budget 2023

This piece is an expression of the author's perspective and draws upon research and information sourced from various online sources.


Recent headlines regarding the upcoming Singapore Budget 2023 predictions have focused on plans to assist residents who are now jobless or are having difficulty finding employment, particularly workers who have been laid off as a result of the epidemic. It is more a welcomed move to establish measures to support unemployment given the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on the labor market and the recent GST hike, which was essential for the expansion of the national economy.

Read also: Business Guide: Overall Effects Of 2023 GST Changes On Your Business In Singapore

So here in this article, we will smartly take a 'Towkay' look into what Budget 2023 could bring in terms of an unemployment support scheme for the Singaporeans.

Background On Unemployment Support

In the early years of Singapore's independence, there was little need for formal unemployment support as the economy was growing rapidly and employment opportunities were abundant. However, with the slowdown of the economy in the 1980s, the government recognized the need for support for those who were out of work.

In 1986, the government introduced the Workfare Income Supplement scheme to provide financial support to low-wage workers. This was followed by the introduction of the Career Assistance and Training Scheme in 1995, which provided job search assistance and training programs to those who were unemployed.

In 2000, the government introduced the Adapt and Grow initiative, which aimed to help workers adapt to changes in the labor market and acquire new skills. This initiative included a range of programs such as the Career Center and the Professional Conversion Program, which provided job search assistance, training, and financial support to those who were unemployed.

Over the years, the government has continued to expand and improve the unemployment support system in response to changing economic conditions and the needs of the labor market. Today, the system is well-established and provides a range of benefits to those who have lost their jobs, including unemployment insurance, job search assistance, and job training programs.

Increase Support For Unemployment During Pandemic- Covid-19 Recovery Grant

Introduced in January 2021, the grant provides temporary financial support to workers in lower- to middle-income households who experienced involuntary job loss, no-pay leave or income loss due to the pandemic’s economic impact.

The grant offers up to $700 per month for three months to people who lost their jobs or had their contracts terminated, and $500 per month for three months to people who lost a large amount of their trade or pay income.

Currently, the applications are open till 31st December 2023 and eligible candidate can apply it here.

With the extension of the Covid-19 Recovery grant till end of 2023, will we expect more support from the upcoming 2023 Budget to support the unemployment?

A Double-Edge Sword Policy?

Unemployment support is a crucial safety net for citizens who are currently out of work and struggling to make ends meet. In light of these challenges, unemployment support is increasingly important for the well-being of Singaporean society.

However, by expanding support for the unemployed, the government must exercise caution because it can have a dual-edged effect, reducing the incentive for people to actively seek employment while simultaneously acting as a safety net for the unemployed. When people think they can rely on government assistance, they may be less motivated to find employment. This is referred to as the "moral hazard" problem.

Greece is one nation where this has been an issue; during the financial crisis, the government boosted jobless payments. However, this resulted in a situation where many people opted to continue receiving benefits rather than actively looking for work, which increased the rate of long-term unemployment and put a pressure on government finances. Similar criticisms have been leveled against generous unemployment benefits in various European Union nations, where they are believed to discourage people from working and contribute to high rates of long-term unemployed.

What To Expect From Unemployment Support In Budget 2023

Here's what we can expect or rather hope from these unemployment support measures:

Increased Financial Assistance: The government is increasing the support provided to individuals who are currently unemployed. This will likely take the form of increased financial assistance, such as cash grants or subsidies, to help these individuals make ends meet while they search for new employment opportunities.

Skills Upgrade Programs: The government is also investing in programs that will help unemployed individuals upgrade their skills and increase their chances of finding new employment. This could take the form of courses, workshops, or training programs that focus on in-demand skills, such as digital marketing, data analysis, and software development.

Job Placement Services: The government may also provide additional support for job placement services, such as job fairs, networking events, and online job portals, to help connect unemployed individuals with employers looking for new talent.

Employer Incentives: To encourage employers to hire and retain workers, the government may also provide incentives such as tax credits or subsidies. This will help to ensure that companies are able to sustain their operations and continue to provide employment opportunities to the local workforce.

To tackle lock-in effects, one of the dangers facing workers to spend time on skill training and workshop and lesser time on job hunt, a possible form of 're-employment support' could be expected.

Conclusion: Will We See This In Budget 2023?

It is yet to be seen if further unemployment support measures will be introduced in the upcoming Feb 14 Budget announcement since it may need proper policy planning ahead before announcing to the general public.

However, the already implemented measures are a positive step towards helping citizens who are currently struggling to find work. With increased financial assistance, skills upgrade programs, job placement services, and employer incentives, the government is doing its part to support the local workforce and ensure a stable and vibrant economy. Let's all stay tuned for more soon!

Read also: New Update: What You Need to Know About the Senior Worker support Package 2022: Up to S$250,000 Grants for Companies

Read also: All You Need To Know About Employee Training Grants In Singapore


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UPDATED AS OF 24 Jul 2024
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