Up to S$920m set aside to extend foreign worker levy rebate for construction, marine shipyard, process sectors

Up to S$920m set aside to extend foreign worker levy rebate for construction, marine shipyard, process sectors

Migrant workers perform construction work in Singapore
Migrant workers take part in repair work next to a road in Singapore on Jun 3, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Up to S$920 million has been set aside to extend foreign worker levy rebates for firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors until the end of 2022, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Saturday (Jun 27).

This is to better support the 15,000 or so firms in these sectors as they adjust to “much more stringent safe management measures” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the ministries in a joint release.

READ: Fortitude Budget: S$2.9 billion to boost and extend Jobs Support Scheme; SMEs to get more rental relief

READ: COVID-19: Employers to get almost S$675 million in levy rebates to help in 'upkeep' of foreign workers

While most businesses have had to adjust to safe management measures at workplaces, requirements in the construction, marine and process industries have imposed “significantly higher costs”, said the ministries.

For example, workers in these sectors need to take dedicated transport to and from work, and cohorting arrangements also mean that most workers cannot be redeployed across sites.

With workers having staggered rest days, this would also require “much tighter coordination” across different sub-contractors, said MTI and MOM.

READ: Migrant workers to remain in dormitories on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening: MOM

S$90 MONTHLY REBATE FOR EACH WORK PERMIT HOLDER

From August, monthly rebates of S$90 for each work permit holder will be given to the firms in these sectors until December next year, said the ministries in the release.

“Closer to December 2021, the Government will decide if there is a need to further extend the foreign worker levy rebate by another year," they added.

Under the Fortitude Budget, it was announced that firms unable to restart work in June will get a 100 per cent waiver and a S$750 rebate. In July, the firms will receive a 50 per cent waiver and a S$375 rebate.

All firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors are automatically eligible for these waivers and rebates.

The vast majority of the workers in these sectors living in dormitories are expected to be cleared and resume work by end-July, said the authorities, and the waivers will cease from August.

READ: 70% to 80% of migrant workers in dormitories expected to be COVID-19 free by end-July: Lawrence Wong

However, the levy rebate will be extended at a lower rate to provide continued support to businesses in the sector and provide more time for them to adjust, they said.

The ministries added that a new construction support package will be offered to support firms in the local construction sector.

Details of another support package for the process, construction and maintenance and marine and offshore sectors will also soon be announced.

Source: CNA/ad(nc)

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