COVID-19: How Does Jobs Support Scheme and Other Cash Reliefs in Singapore Compare with Other Countries?

Jobs Support Scheme

Covid-19 has greatly impacted the world, causing a global recession and a spike in unemployment rates worldwide. It has resulted in more than 5.8 million cases all around the world, and 360,000 deaths have been reported. So far, only 2.4 million people have recovered as of today 29th May 2020, and this number is not even half of the total number of infected cases. The coronavirus continues to be persistent, and many businesses and individuals are feeling the toll of the virus not physically, but economically and mentally.   

Unfortunately, a small country like Singapore is not spared from the severe effects of Covid-19 as well. The number of infected cases in Singapore is still increasing daily, although infected cases in the community have dropped. Even so, when Circuit Breaker measures are lifted next Monday, 1st June 2020, this does not mean that lives will go back to normal. 

Our Government will still put in place certain safe management measures, and gradually reopen our economy in 3 phases, depending on how the situation develops. Besides enforcing strict measures to be followed, the Government has also provided various grants, schemes and reliefs that companies and individuals can benefit from.

There have been FOUR Budgets announced since the beginning of year 2020 - Unity, Resilience, Solidarity, and Fortitude Budgets. A total of S$92.9 billion has been dedicated to support Singaporeans in this battle against Covid-19.

To help businesses manage cash flow and to retain local employees, the Government is providing a total of S$23.5 billion for the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), and this includes the latest enhancements to JSS as announced during the Fortitude Budget. Other disbursements include S$2.5 billion in form of property tax rebates, corporate income tax rebates and foreign worker levy waivers and rebates.

Another S$15.1 billion will also be allocated for Self-employed individuals who meet the qualifying criteria for Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS).

For individuals whose employment have been affected by Covid-19 - those who have lost their jobs, on involuntary no-pay leave or have had at least 30% salary cut for three consecutive months - they can apply for the Covid-19 Support Grant. Those who fall into financial hardship can also apply for the ComCare Scheme. A total of S$145 million will be set aside to support the unemployed.

The Care and Support Package consists of S$4.6 billion to help Singaporeans cope with household expenses during this time of uncertainty, with more help given to the less well-off. All Singaporeans aged 21 years and above will receive a one-off Care and Support Cash payout of S$900, S$600 or S$300, depending on their income This will be paid out on top of the S$300 Solidarity Payment in April.

The above includes some (not all) of the Government support we receive, but are this sufficient help and support for Singaporeans and businesses? Has the Government been doing enough for us? Some may say yes, while others may say no. This will never be a one-size-fits-all support. But before we start criticizing or feel pity for ourselves, let us look at how the Governments in other countries are helping their citizens.

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