SINGAPORE: More than 95,000 employers will receive more than S$450 million in payouts under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) by the end of June.
Through the scheme payouts in June this year, the Government will co-fund 20 per cent of qualifying wage increases given in 2019, 2018 and 2017 to more than 800,000 Singaporean employees earning a gross monthly wage of up to S$5,000.
Employers do not need to apply to receive the payouts, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) said in a joint press release on Thursday (Jun 11).
Eligible employers will receive letters from IRAS by Jun 30 informing them of their payout amount.
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In line with Singapore’s Smart Nation efforts, IRAS has fully adopted digital payment modes for WCS payouts and will no longer issue cheques, the press release said. The payouts will be directly credited to employers’ registered bank accounts through PayNow Corporate or GIRO.
Any appeals regarding the payouts must be submitted to IRAS by Aug 31 and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
In Budget 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the WCS would be enhanced to support wage increases for Singaporean workers.
The Government co-funding levels for qualifying wage increases in 2019 and 2020 was raised by five percentage points to 20 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
“The gross monthly wage ceiling was also raised from S$4,000 to S$5,000 for both years, which enabled more to qualify for the wage credit. Employers eligible for the Budget 2020 enhancements will receive the supplementary payout for the enhancement in June 2020,” the press release said.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mr Heng said: "This is one way the Government supports businesses which are able to innovate and increase the productivity of their workforce – a win-win-win for workers, businesses and Singapore."
He urged employers to make "full use of the support available" and to hold on to their workers.
“Even as the COVID-19 situation evolves, our priorities remain the same – to keep our workers employed and help viable businesses stay afloat,” Mr Heng added.
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The WCS was introduced in 2013 as a three-year initiative. It was subsequently extended to 2020 to support businesses embarking on "transformation efforts" and encourage sharing of productivity gains with workers.
Unlike the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which co-funds current wages, WCS co-funds wage increases. The JSS was introduced only in 2020 to provide wage support to employers and help enterprises retain their local employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.