The Singaporean government launched the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) in late April as part of circuit-breaker measures outlined in Singapore’s Budget 2020 announcements aimed at containing the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
As the government recognizes the pandemic has taken a toll on the country’s revenue generation capacity, the JSS is a cash subsidy allocated to Singaporean companies to assist businesses in covering their payroll expenses.
How Does the Jobs Support Scheme Work?
The JSS aims to co-fund between 25% and 75% of an employer’s first $4,600 of gross monthly wages.
The amount granted through the JSS will cover a ten-month period, with the four initial payouts being sent on April, May (special payout), July, and October 2020.
Meanwhile, the exact level of support granted to each employer will be defined depending on the industry in which the company operates, with the most virus-sensitive industry being granted the top percentile of the aid.
It is important to note that the government recently decided to top-up the support granted to all firms eligible for the JSS during the month of April and May, granting them all the 75% percentile of aid for that particular month.
Which Companies are Eligible for JSS?
Companies are not required to send an application to participate in the Jobs Support Scheme, but they may voluntarily choose to decline from participating by sending a “Decline JSS form”.
Except for the month of April and May, when all companies will be granted a 75% JSS assistance, the percentage of aid extended to each employer will be defined based on their economic sector. The following is a detailed overview of how these percentages will be distributed:
- Tier 1 (75% JSS Support) – Aviation, aerospace, tourism, hospitality, conventions, and exhibitions.
- Tier 2 (50% JSS Support) – Food services, retail, arts & entertainment, land transport, marine & offshore.
- Tier 3 (25% JSS Support) – All other sectors.
Furthermore, as part of the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), the government has deemed shareholder-directors with assessable income lower than SGD100,000 eligible for this aid.
Key Deadlines and Details Pertaining to the JSS
According to the IRAS website, the payout corresponding to the month of February to April of 2020 will be received during July 2020, while payouts for the period covering the months of May to August 2020 will be disbursed in October 2020.
Payouts will be estimated by using the CPF contributions reported by companies for the periods covered by the government grant, with the July 2020 payout being estimated based on CPF contributions from May 31 and the October 2020 payout being estimated by using the CPF information provided on or before September 14.
Penalties and Compliance Matters
It is important to note the IRAS warns against employers who abuse the JSS. Offenders may be faced with criminal charges resulting in 10 years of imprisonment and a fine. For this reason, it is a wise option for businesses to seek professional accounting assistance to estimate adequate CPF contributions and take proper steps to ensure both the survival and the compliance of their company with local regulations.