Budget 2021

On 16 February, the Minister for Finance unveiled the Government’s 2021 budget. Amongst other plans, the budget announced extensions to some of the key schemes that are supporting businesses and workers through the pandemic. Our blog post today is aimed at highlighting some of the key extensions that will help support your business.

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) has been extended up to September 2021 for certain businesses. The Scheme provides wage support from the Government to help pay a percentage of local and permanent resident employees’ wages. If you’re operating in a tier 1, 2 or 3A sector, you can benefit from this extension. The relief percentage contributed by the Government will be tapered at different rates depending on the sector in which you operate.

For more information on the payments for the extended period and the JSS itself, visit this IRAS web page.

Wage Credit Scheme

The Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) has been extended to include the whole of 2021.

Providing the qualification criteria are met, the WCS provides support to you and your employees by co-funding 15% of the qualifying employees’ wages, up to the wage ceiling of $5 000 per month.

You can find out more about the WCS, qualification criteria and how to apply here.

Jobs Growth Incentive

The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) qualifying window has been extended by 7 months. This means that if you employ new local employees any time between now and 31 September 2021 the Government will provide you with the wage support shown in the table below:

Employee AgeGovernment ContributionWage ceilingDuration (from employment start date)
Less than 4025%$5 00012 months
40 and above50%$6 00018 months

You can find more information on the JGI here.

If you want to read the full budget or explore the other announcements, you can do so on the Ministry of Finance’s Budget 2021 page.

We hope the above has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how this relates to SimplePay, you can contact our team at [email protected]

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.com.sg.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

JSS Payout Reminder and Update

In the blog post today we have an update for you on the Job Support Scheme (JSS), previously mentioned in our blog post on 14 September. This post summarises the key points from an IRAS media release, dated 19 October.

JSS Background

The JSS was introduced by the Singapore Government to help you retain your workforce by subsidising your employees’ wages. For the first month of the scheme in May, all eligible employers received 75% wage support for their employees wages. For the remaining months that JSS is operational, the amount of support you receive depends on the sector that your company operates. 

SectorWage Support Percentage
Aviation, Tourism and Built Environment75%
Food Services, Retail, Arts and Entertainment, Land Transport and Marine & Offshore50%
All Other Sectors25%

The JSS scheme will continue to operate up to March 2021, with payments being made to employers for set groups of months. This equates to 17 months of wage support for your business if you qualify! 

JSS payments for the months of June, July and August are due to start from 29 October 2020.

N.B. For all the payout dates, see this IRAS Web Page.

How to Receive Earlier Payouts

If you currently have a GIRO or PayNow Corporate arrangement with IRAS you can expect to receive payment from 29 October. If you don’t currently use either of these arrangements, instead IRAS will send you a cheque which you can expect to receive from 4 November onwards.

As a result, you are more likely to be paid sooner if you adopt either GIRO or PayNow Corporate. Due to this, IRAS is encouraging employers to sign up for PayNow Corporate. If you have done this by 23 October 2020, you should receive the earlier and direct JSS payments through your new account.

You can sign up for PayNow Corporate by linking your UEN / NRIC / FIN to your bank account via internet banking. If unsure how to do this, you should reach out to your bank

Review of the JSS

The amount of JSS that you receive for each of your employees is calculated from your CPF contributions for each of your employees. Therefore, it is important that you continue to correctly report and pay your CPF contributions.

As part of their checks on JSS eligibility and compliance, IRAS is sending a small number of employers self review letters to complete. If you are selected, you must conduct a self review of your CPF contributions and provide declarations and / or documents to prove your eligibility to partake in the JSS. The abovementioned October 2020 payouts will be withheld from you until you have submitted your self assessment and had it reviewed by IRAS.

SME Go Digital

As stated in our last blog post, we are looking into registering SimplePay as an SME Go Digital pre-approved vendor. Part of this process includes receiving satisfaction surveys from yourselves, our amazing clients!

By helping us become approved, you will in turn open the door to various Government grants and bonuses that could help develop your business. It’s a win-win!

If you joined us between 6 and 18 months ago, we need your help! To assist us by completing the short survey, please get in contact with us at [email protected].

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.com.sg.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Emerging from Lockdown – Support for Businesses

At SimplePay, there is nothing that we love more than being able to make your payroll a breeze, so you can grow and build your business. Although this is our main goal, when we see opportunities that will benefit you, we don’t turn a blind eye. Therefore, our blog today is about updating you on some of the new and extended support measures provided by the Government, as well as an exciting prospect for the future.

Extension of the Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was launched to help employers pay their employee’s wages during the circuit breaker period and was due to conclude at the end of last month. In August, the Government announced that it is extending the JSS for up to 7 months to March 2021. 

The value of the support given is dependent on the sector in which you operate, with the hardest hit sectors receiving more support. 

For more information on the extension and the JSS you can read this IRAS web page.

Job Growth Incentive

To help sectors that are doing well and have the means and opportunity to increase their workforce, the Government has announced the new Job Growth Incentive (JGI). Under the incentive, the Government will pay 25% of new local worker’s salaries for the first year of employment. Even better, if the new employee is aged 40 and above, the co-payment could be up to 50%!

The way that JGI works is that if you increase your overall local workforce between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021, in comparison to their numbers in August 2020, you will qualify for Government support. An additional requirement is that you need to increase the number of your employees earning $1, 400 or more per month.

The support consists of payment of 25% for those under 40, or 50% for those 40 and above for the first $5, 000 per month paid to these additional employees. The support will continue for one year from the date of appointment, provided that you continue to meet the requirements.

Payments will be automatically received in 5 separate payouts, based on your mandatory CPF contributions, with the first payout being in March 2021. There may be some cases where you will need to provide further evidence upon IRAS’s request, after which you will then receive your payout. 

For more information on the JGI, please visit IRAS’s dedicated page.

An Exciting Prospect

SMEs Go Digital is a scheme being run by the Government to encourage the uptake of technology by SMEs for certain business functions. Companies which meet the criteria can receive a payout of up to 80% of the cost of the solutions from the Productivity Solutions Grant. 

We are looking into registering SimplePay under the scheme and part of this process includes receiving satisfaction surveys from yourselves. If you joined us between 6 and 18 months ago, we need your help! If you’d like to assist us by completing the short survey, please get in contact with us at [email protected].

We hope that this information has proved useful to you. If you have any questions on how the information above relates to SimplePay, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Equally, if you are not yet a client of SimplePay but would like to be, or if you’d like to know how we can take the effort out of filing and calculating payroll, get in contact with us or visit our website: www.simplepay.com.sg.

Keep well and stay safe.

Team SimplePay

Alternative Options to Retrenchment for Employers

In our last blog on 23 April, found here, we provided you with information about the various schemes and options available to employers, to help during these challenging economic times. In this blog we shall be writing from a slightly different perspective, looking at what the options are for you, the employer, to avoid having to lay off your employees.

When reading this blog to help inform decisions on possible actions to take for your employees, it is worth bearing the Job Support Scheme (JSS) in mind (covered in our previous blog). The JSS provides a wage subsidy of varying percentages, dependent on the sector in which you operate. This in turn helps to pay employees. The JSS will be revisited below under “Leave Options”.

Remote Working

SME Support

For many businesses based in an office environment, although working from home leads to some complications, these hurdles can often be overcome. This will in turn allow you to keep employees working from the safety of their homes.

In an effort to support Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who might not otherwise have the required infrastructure, the Government has enhanced its Go Digital Programme. 

Information on digital resources, grants and training courses can be found on the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IDMA) website. These are pitched at a range of levels, from plans to start using digital solutions, to Industry Digital plans aimed at helping boost growth and productivity. There is also cost free support provided by the SME Digital Tech hub, which more information can be found on the IDMA website.

More SME specific information can be found on the dedicated IDMA SMEs Go Digital page.

Productivity Solutions Grant

A further source of support for SMEs to keep on employees is the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), mentioned in the Resilience Budget. The PSG covers both sector-specific solutions in areas such as retail, food and construction, as well as solutions that are useful to all industries, such as customer management, data analytics and inventory tracking. These digital solutions could in turn further bridge the gap between working from home and in the office.

A grant of up to 80% will be available to businesses between April and December 2020.

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Registered and operating in Singapore
  • Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding (for selected solutions only)

More information on the PSG and solutions which are available can be found on the Enterprise Singapore website here.

General Business support

Enterprise Development Grant

The aim of the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) is to help Singapore companies transform and grow. This grant supports projects falling under 3 key pillars, those being:

  • Core Capabilities
  • Innovation and Productivity
  • Market Access

The grant funds qualifying project costs, such as consultancy fees, software and equipment and internal manpower. It therefore can provide further relief on employee wages. The maximum support level for the grant is up to 80%, or 90% for the most severely impacted companies, which is to be reviewed on a case by case basis. The scheme will run between April and December 2020. 

The eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Be registered and operating in Singapore
  • Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
  • Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project

You can find out more information on the EDG and how to apply here.

Leave Options

As mentioned in our previous blog, in some cases the options mentioned above are of little use for certain industries and vocations. This therefore means that for the period which the lockdown is in force, they will need to be put on leave or even laid off.

Where employees are able to work, but are prevented from doing so due to the lockdown, employers and employees can agree that annual leave be used to cover some or all of the lockdown period on full pay. You are also always able to extend extra paid leave days to all employees should you so wish.

With the help of the Job Support Scheme (JSS) mentioned in our previous blog, employers automatically receive contributions towards the employees which they keep on. Therefore even if employees are put on leave, employers will still be able to pay employees in some capacity. This hopefully provides a strong incentive to deter retrenchment.

If none of the above is feasible and it is decided that employees need to be laid off, it is advisable to point your employees towards the COVID19 Support Grant, if they are eligible. Applications are open from May 2020 and more information on eligibility can be found here. Alternatively, employees can enquire by calling 1800-222-0000 or emailing [email protected].

Employee Upskilling

Workfare Training Support Scheme

Under the Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme, a number of higher course fee subsidies and Training grants covering 95% of Absentee payroll have been introduced. This provides an opportunity for the time spent away from the office, to be a great way to upskill your employees.

Training accommodated under the scheme includes Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQs), Part-time ITE skills certificates offered by the Institute of Technical Education, SSG certifiable skills training courses, as well as standalone skills based modular training.

For an employee to be eligible, they must be:

  • a Singapore citizen;
  • aged 35 years and above on 31 December 2020 (aged 13 years and above for persons with disabilities);
  • earning an average gross monthly income of not more than $2,000 for the months worked; and
  • signed up for any WTS qualifying courses prior to making an application for funding.

For more information on the grants and courses available, as well as how to apply, please follow this link to the Singapore Workfare website.

We hope that this information proves useful to you. If you have any queries on how the above relates to payroll and the SimplePay system, please feel free to get in touch with our customer support team at [email protected].

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay

COVID-19 – Support for Business

Blog Contents

  • Corporate income tax support
  • Enhanced Job Support Scheme
  • Relief in the form of loans
  • Ministry of Manpower support
  • Central Provident Fund Board support
  • Foreign worker support
  • Employer leave options
  • Options for employees

On 3 April, in light of the increased transmission of COVID-19, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a month-long lockdown. With most businesses being unable to operate until 4 May, this will likely cause strain on a lot of companies and households.

In this blog, we shall give information on relief options available to help support your business and its employees over the lockdown period. 

Comprehensive information about each of the support measures available is provided in this booklet, which lays out all of the schemes detailed in the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity Budgets.

Support for Businesses

Support Provided by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

As announced in the Resilience Budget on 26 March and the Solidarity Budget on 6 April 2020, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore will be implementing a series of support measures to ease financial pressure on businesses.

Automatic Deferral of Corporate Income Tax (CIT)

All companies due to make CIT contributions in April, May or June will be granted an automatic 3 month deferment. If you use GIRO then this will be reflected in the “my tax portal” section, providing you with a new due date. If you are not using GIRO, please use the Corporate Tax Payment Deferment Calculator, to determine the new date for payment.

Should you want further information or if you do not wish to defer your CIT, please refer to the IRAS web page here.

Corporate Income Tax Rebate

In the Government’s Stabilisation and Support Package from 18 February, they announced that there would be a 25% rebate on corporate income tax, up to a maximum of $15 000.

Enhanced Job Support Scheme (JSS)

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) was launched to help businesses retain their local employees during this period of uncertainty. The below Budgets make provision for this:

  • Solidarity Budget – wage subsidy raised for all sectors to 75% of gross monthly wages for the first $4,600 of wages paid to all local employees (citizens and permanent residents) in April 2020.
  • Resilience budget – Depending on which of the three tiers your business sector fits into, you can expect a grant of 25%, 50% or 75% of your gross wages for the first $4,600 of wages paid to all local employees. This scheme shall run for 9 months, from October 2019 to July 2020. Payments can be expected in three tranches in April, July and October 2020.

A great feature of the scheme is that employers do not need to apply for JSS, it is calculated automatically from the CPF contributions. Therefore you can expect this subsidy to support your business over this period.

For more information on this support measure and to see which grant bracket your business fits into, please refer to the IRAS information page here.

Relief in the Form of Loans

Unity Budget – 18 February

  • Enterprise Finance Scheme (EFS) – In the Stabilisation and Support Package it was announced that loans of up to $600 000 would be provided to SMEs in the form of working capital.

Resilience Budget – 26 February

  • Temporary Bridging Loan Programme – This programme has been extended to all sectors, with the maximum amount now being $5 Million.
  • Enterprise Finance Scheme (EFS) – The maximum loan quantum for SME working capital was increased to $1 million.
  • EFS Trade Loans – Trade loans were increased to a maximum of $10 million, whilst the Government also increased its risk share to 80% for these loans.
  • Loan Insurance Scheme – Loan insurance premiums can be subsidised by up to 80% under this scheme.

Solidarity Budget – 6 April

  • Government risk share – For the EFS-Trade Loans, EFS-SME Working Capital Loans and Temporary Bridging Loan Programme, The Government has increased its risk share to 90%.

Support Provided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

In addition to the above, MOM has released several support programmes for businesses. For more information on all of the schemes mentioned below, please follow this link.

 For business employers with foreign workers, information on:

  • Levy rebate and levy waiver for business employers
  • 3-month extension of levy payment timeline for SMEs
  • Transfer foreign workers across sectors to manage manpower needs
  • Refund of Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) for constructions firms
  • Temporary Housing Support for employers affected by Malaysia’s MCO

For business employers affected by Leave of Absence (LOA) or Stay Home Notices (SHN), further information on:

  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for employers in healthcare, education and eldercare sectors
  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for employers in all other sectors
  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for employers implementing company-imposed LOA

For business employers implementing a flexible work arrangement (FWA), further information on:

  • Enhanced Work-Life Grant (WLG) for flexible work arrangements

For Self Employed Persons (SEPs), further information on:

  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for SEPs in healthcare, education and eldercare sectors
  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for SEPs in all other sectors
  • LOA/SHN Support Programme for SEPs on self-imposed LOA

For Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) employers, further information on:

  • SHN support for FDW employers

Support Provided by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board

The Unity, Resilience and Solidarity budgets made for several support measures that the CPF can provide. These are explained in more detail on the CPF Website.

These budgets have made provision for three cash payouts for Singapore citizens: 

  • The Solidarity Budget is to automatically pay $600 to each adult Singapore citizen in April 2020. More information is found in the CPF website linked above. 
  • The Resilience budget will pay adult Singapore citizens over the age of 21 a further payment in the form of the Care and Support Package. This will be paid out in June 2020. More information on the amounts can be found in this infographic, under “Supporting Families”.
  • The Workfare Special Payment Package is also available as a cash payout of up to $3000 for Singapore citizens who received workfare payments for work done in 2019.

If you are a permanent resident with an immediate family member who is a Singapore citizen, you can also receive the Solidarity Budget cash payout. In order for this you must apply through go.gov.sg/sppr.

Additionally, this page covers a special allowance for remote working, which are not subject to CPF.

Leave Options for Employers if employees are unable to work

Regardless of all the support measures put in place, in some situations it is not practicable to continue business operations during the lockdown, meaning that employees will need to be put on leave.

Where employees are able to work, but are prevented from doing so due to the lockdown, employers and employees can agree that annual leave be used to cover some or all of the lockdown period on full pay. You are also always able to extend extra paid leave days to all employees should you so wish.

Where none of the paid leave types are an option, if it is possible to find an agreement between the employer and employees, instead of ending the employees service you can form a special leave type on SimplePay. For further information on creating a custom leave type on SimplePay, please visit our help page here

If it is agreed that the employee is not to be paid during this period, it may be beneficial to direct them to the table in this link. The Key Scheme labelled “Temporary Assistance” can provide some money for them in the interim.

Options for Employees

Deferment of Tax Payment

If your employee pays tax under the GIRO or lump sum method, they are entitled to apply to defer tax by 3 months. 

  • For employees paying tax under GIRO, you can opt to defer your tax due in May, June and July 2020. In order to partake in this scheme they must sign up by 31 July 2020. They can sign up for the deferment here.
  • For employees due to pay tax as a lump sum in May, June or July 2020, they can also defer payment by 3 months.

For more information on deferments of employee tax, please follow this link.

Taxpayers who need help with tax payment

If as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic you are in financial difficulty and are struggling to pay taxes, you can directly apply for a longer payment plan on GIRO, under “my payment plan”, which can be found in the “My tax portal”. 

If a deferment is going to prove insufficient and you require other forms of help, IRAS encourages you to get into contact with them, where they will consider applications on a case by case basis.

This is just a summary of some of the options available to support businesses and employees. For the comprehensive list of support available, we would recommend that you read through the linked booklet at the top of the blog.

Should you have any questions on this blog, please feel free to get in contact with our support team at [email protected]

Keep well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Team SimplePay