SINGAPORE: A total of 32 companies have returned Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payouts worth a combined S$35 million as of May 9, a Ministry of Finance (MOF) spokesperson said on Sunday (May 10).
These companies have also pledged to decline future JSS payouts from the Government, the spokesperson said in response to queries from CNA, adding that the S$35 million, which was the companies' payout for April, will be used for future disbursements.
Furthermore, 29 other companies that received the funds for April have said that they will decline future JSS payouts.
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First announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in February's Budget, the JSS is a wage subsidy programme to help companies retain and pay their workers as businesses take a hit from the impact of COVID-19.
In April and May, the subsidies will cover 75 per cent of the first S$4,600 of each local employee’s salary.
April’s payouts, encompassing 140,000 employers and more than 1.9 million local employees’ wages, had originally totalled more than S$7 billion.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Mr Heng said that those companies which have returned the first tranche of payouts and refused future payments include multi-national corporations, financial institutions and local enterprises across different sectors.
“I am very encouraged by their sense of responsibility and shared community,” he wrote, noting that some companies have coped better than others in the current situation.
“I hope their exemplary action will inspire other companies that are doing well to consider doing the same.”
He said that besides returning the JSS funds, businesses can also consider donating to charitable causes.
“I hope that you will also show recognition and appreciation for your workers who have stepped up during the circuit breaker period,” he added.
One company that donated its payouts is Dutch multinational DSM Nutritional Products.
Its Asia-Pacific president Pieter Nuboer said the company was fortunate that its business model globally has proven to be "relatively resilient".
"At the same time, many businesses and groups in society are in dire need," Mr Nuboer added.
"Regarding any government support coming our way, we are therefore very clear about our moral deliverable," he said. "It is to redirect these funds to those most in need."