SINGAPORE: There will be higher payouts and more support for disabled workers and low-wage earners under Budget 2016, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Thursday (Mar 24).
Payouts will be increased under the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme, which aims to encourage workers who are 35 and above to join the workforce by supplementing their income and CPF savings.
For example, workers earnings S$1,000 to S$1,600 a month will receive increases in payouts of S$100 to S$500. Workers will continue to receive 40 per cent of WIS in cash and 60 per cent in CPF, Mr Heng said.
The qualifying income ceiling will also be raised to S$2,000 a month from the current S$1,900. The criteria will also be simplified – with WIS being paid for every month worked. This is a change from the existing criteria, which requires a person to work two out of three consecutive months, or three out of six consecutive months, or six out of 12 months in a year.
Workers can also look forward to receiving WIS payments monthly instead of quarterly.
The scheme is expected to cost S$770 million a year, and will benefit about 460,000 Singaporeans, Mr Heng said.
SUPPORTING DISABLED AT WORK
Employers who hire workers with disabilities who earn up to S$4,000 a month will continue to receive the Special Employment Credit (SEC) scheme. They will receive a credit of up to 16 per cent of the employee’s wages, twice as high as the SEC for older workers.
The Workfare Training Support scheme, currently for low-wage workers who are 35 and above, will be extended to those with disabilities who earn low wages and are under 35, to better support them in their learning.
The Public Service will also expand job opportunities for those with disabilities, with support from SGEnable, Mr Heng said, adding that more details will be announced in the Committee of Supply debate.