SINGAPORE: Citi Singapore has returned payouts under the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and will decline future payments from the Government under the scheme.
"Giving back the JSS funding means that individuals, families and companies who have a far greater need for assistance can benefit from it," said a Citi spokesperson on Thursday (May 21) in response to CNA's queries.
The international bank joins a list of companies which have returned the wage subsidies, which are meant to help firms retain and pay their workers as businesses take a hit from the impact of COVID-19.
For the month of April and May, the subsidies cover 75 per cent of the first S$4,600 of each local employee’s salary.
READ: Bank and pharmaceutical giant among firms that returned or donated Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidies
Citi has given back the first tranche of the wage subsidies, but did not say how much was returned.
The spokesperson noted that about 80 per cent of Citi’s 8,500 employees here are Singaporeans and permanent residents.
Employees were told of the bank's decision in an email sent on Thursday by Citi country officer for Singapore Amol Gupte.
"We feel it is the right time to signal that companies like Citi are here for the long term, and that the well-being of the larger community in Singapore matters to us," Mr Gupte wrote in the internal email seen by CNA.
“Considering the large workforce that we have, this was a big decision and we hope it will make a significant impact on our community."
Mr Gupte, who is also Citi’s ASEAN head, also noted other initiatives the bank has taken to help clients, employees and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include a financial relief programme to clients, special compensation to employees who are experiencing hardship during this period.
"We are also providing philanthropic support to a community partner for their relief programme to deliver food and groceries to over 750 beneficiaries from low-income, elderly and migrant worker groups over a three month period," he said.
READ: COVID-19: DPM Heng Swee Keat to deliver ministerial statement on further help for businesses, individuals
First announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in February's Budget, the JSS had been enhanced in subsequent budgets to help businesses cope amid the downturn.
The Ministry of Finance announced earlier in May that 32 companies returned JSS payouts worth a combined S$35 million as of May 9.
These companies had also pledged to decline future JSS payouts from the Government, MOF said then, adding that the S$35 million, which was the companies' payout for April, will be used for future disbursements.