SINGAPORE: Local banks in Singapore are using the wage subsidies from the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to create new jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, they told CNA on Thursday (May 21) .
In response to queries, a DBS spokesperson said that it will use the payouts to continue hiring amid the economic downturn.
The JSS is a wage subsidy programme aimed at helping companies 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.
“We are committed not only to protecting jobs but also creating new ones,” said a DBS spokesperson.
DBS, which employs about 12,000 people in Singapore, has previously announced that it plans to hire more than 2,000 people this year.
Half of them will be placed in new roles, the spokesperson said, adding that many of these new roles will also go to graduates.
The Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) also plans to use the JSS payouts to create new jobs and improve existing positions.
Its group brand and communications head Koh Ching Ching said that the bank is “intensifying training and development across the organisation” to prepare its workers for a post-COVID-19 future.
“New roles will be required and some existing roles have to be reviewed for redesign to fit into the future job landscape,” she said.
The JSS will help to fulfil these plans, as well as support “a wide range of welfare schemes for our employees”, she added.
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On Thursday, Citi Singapore announced that it was joining a list of companies that have returned the wage subsidies.
The Ministry of Finance announced early this month that 32 companies had returned JSS payouts worth a combined S$35 million as of May 9.
These companies also pledged to decline future JSS payouts from the Government, MOF said then, adding that the S$35 million in returned payouts would be used for future disbursements.
READ: Bank and pharmaceutical giant among firms that returned or donated Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidies
Both DBS and OCBC pointed out their charitable efforts in Singapore during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DBS said that it is donating S$2.5 million to provide 700,000 meals to the elderly, low-income and migrant worker communities in Singapore, while OCBC said it had given out about S$1.5 million worth of aid to help vulnerable seniors, migrant workers and needy families.
Both banks, as well as United Overseas Bank, pledged in April not to lay off employees because of COVID-19.