SINGAPORE: More than 130 companies have returned a total of S$97 million in wage subsidies given to them as part of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) for the months of April and May, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said on Monday (Jun 15).
These companies are also among more than 250 firms that have pledged to decline future JSS payouts from the Government, MOF said in its update.
The number of new companies that have returned the JSS has more than tripled since the previous update.
On May 10, MOF said that as of May 9, 32 companies had given back payouts worth a combined S$35 million.
Under the JSS, which was first announced in February, the Government co-funds between 25 per cent and 75 per cent of the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each Singaporean or permanent resident (PR) employee.
The scheme had been enhanced several times as part of efforts to help companies retain workers amid the COVID-19 downturn.
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In the fourth and latest Budget, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the JSS would be extended by a month to 10 months, and that more firms would be eligible for higher levels of subsidies.
Bank of America and Citi Singapore are among the companies that have returned their JSS payouts and pledged to decline future payments.
Other organisations have donated their payouts, including Swiss multinational company Syngenta, which has its regional headquarters in Singapore.
The agrichemicals maker has donated all the funds it has received and will donate future payouts under various schemes including JSS to charitable causes, including the Courage Fund and the Migrant Workers' Assistance Fund, said Syngenta Asia Pacific regional director Alexander Berkovskiy.
READ: Bank and pharmaceutical giant among firms that returned or donated Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidies
This amounts to more than S$1.5 million in donations, said Mr Berkovskiy.
“Although the pandemic is affecting almost all industries, our local operations have not been adversely impacted by the pandemic. These subsidy funds would be put to better use if they are donated to help the vulnerable in these difficult times.”
“On top of these donations, we're making additional corporate funds available to support our employees in volunteer activities with other charities such as StandUpFor.SG and It's Raining Raincoats,” he added.
Syngenta has 198 employees in Singapore, among them 128 Singaporeans and PRs.