About 50,000 shareholder-directors to benefit from enhanced COVID-19 wage support scheme

About 50,000 shareholder-directors to benefit from enhanced COVID-19 wage support scheme

office workers raffles place singapore file photo 4
Office workers at Raffles Place in Singapore. (File photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: A recent enhancement of a wage support scheme to include those who are also shareholders and directors of companies will benefit about 50,000 people, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Monday (May 4).

These qualifying shareholder-directors will start receiving payouts under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) from May, which will also include back-payment for the month of April.

Mr Heng said the change was made to the scheme after authorities received feedback from shareholder-directors, especially those from smaller companies and start-ups.

“Although they receive support through the JSS for their employees’ wages, their own personal wages formed a significant portion of their companies’ wage bills but were not covered by the JSS,” he told the House.

This group also do not qualify for the income relief scheme for self-employed people.

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“We are sympathetic to the challenges faced by these shareholder-directors,” said Mr Heng. “By supporting them, we hope that these shareholder-directors will be able to retain their own wages and livelihoods, just like how we would like them to retain their local employees.”

The enhancement to include shareholder-directors under the JSS was announced on Apr 21 when “circuit breaker” measures were extended to Jun 1.

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This wage support will only apply to companies that were registered on or before Apr 20 this year, and for wages of shareholder-directors with assessable income of S$100,000 or less in the year of assessment 2019.

Setting this income criteria will help authorities to better target the subsidy at those who need the support more, said Mr Heng.

The JSS, aimed at helping firms retain local workers, was first announced in February’s Budget and has since been enhanced three times.

Firms in all sectors will receive a 75 per cent subsidy for the wages of their local employees in the months of April and May.

In June and July, larger subsidies of 75 per cent and 50 per cent will apply only to sectors most affected by the outbreak, such as aviation, tourism, and food services. All other sectors will get a 25 per cent wage subsidy.

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Source: CNA/sk(nc)