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

New Feature: Managing End of Service in Bulk

With the spread of COVID-19 globally, we decided 2 weeks ago to transition our entire team to remote work. It was a bit daunting at first, but we’re grateful to be able to say it’s largely business as usual again at SimplePay (albeit with a bit more distance between us and significantly more Zoom meetings every day).

With that in mind, we have been hard at work to ensure we reduce the burden on employers and payroll administrators where possible. We have introduced new functionality to allow users to manage their employees’ services in bulk. A new Employee Actions section has been added to the Bulk Actions page to allow users to do the following for their employees in bulk:

  • End Service
  • Reinstate
  • Undo End of Service

This new bulk functionality allows you to manage multiple employees’ services in one place on SimplePay without requiring you to navigate to each employee, one at a time.

To learn more about how this functionality works, head over to our help page here.

For larger companies we recommend limiting this bulk functionality to batches of 50 employees to ensure smoother results.

If you have any questions, please contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Year in Review

As 2019 (and the decade) draws to a close, we’d like to thank you for choosing SimplePay as your payroll software provider. We really value the loyalty, ideas, feedback and love that we get from you, our clients.

We would also like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year that has been. 2019 was certainly a year of growth for our team. We changed our branding to better represent ourselves as a global entity and were honoured to be nominated as a Xero App Partner of the Year for South Africa. Some of the major features and functions that we accomplished were:

  • Custom items based on system items, and the subsequent expansion of this feature
  • Custom employee fields in Basic Info
  • A new leave days report
  • Customisation of employee self-service
  • Bulk actions for once-off payslips and overriding payslip end dates
  • Leave expiration
  • Additional customisation for employee payment dates
  • QuickBooks integration upgrade
  • Automatic logout for idle accounts

In 2020, you can expect the team to continue striving to enhance your payroll experience. As always, all added features are completely free for all and do not change the monthly fee that you pay. 

We have already begun work on a Partner Programme, and look forward to sharing more about this exciting new offering early in the new year.

From all of us here at SimplePay, have a joyful festive season. We are looking forward to a great 2020 together!

Team SimplePay

Automatic Logout Feature

We are happy to announce a new security feature as part of our ongoing commitment to protecting your data and helping you stay safe online. We already have the highest of security standards in place, and last year we introduced an optional 2-factor authentication feature to prevent access to your account if someone has your password. Now, our optional timeout feature allows you to choose how long the system can be left idle for before automatically logging you out of SimplePay.

With this new feature, if you forget to log out of SimplePay, the next person that uses that computer or electronic device will not have access to your account. This is especially beneficial to you if you share computers in the workplace, if you work on public computers or if you are concerned that someone will use your electronic device when you leave it unattended.

To access this feature:

  • Go to the Profile icon and select User Profile
  • Click on Lock screen after timeout
  • Select a timeout option.
    • If you select ‘Disabled’, you will not be logged out of the system, no matter how long a page has been left idle for.
    • If you select a time from the menu (e.g. ‘1 hour’), it means that the system will log you out if there has been inactivity for the time specified.
  • Click Save

Just another way that SimplePay is helping you take care of your sensitive employee data.

Team SimplePay

QuickBooks Integration Upgrade

As the year draws to a close, our holiday elves have been bustling behind the scenes to enhance your payroll experience, focusing on our QuickBooks integration. SimplePay integrates with both QuickBooks and Xero, allowing you to send your payroll information straight from SimplePay into your general ledger accounts with the click of a button. This means that you do not have to switch between systems to transfer information, saving you time and reducing the possibility of human error.

You’ll be happy to hear that our QuickBooks integration has been refined to give you an upgraded user interface and setup. These improvements will make the process easier to navigate and simpler to understand if you wish to integrate your payroll and accounting information.

If you have already integrated QuickBooks and SimplePay in the past, please note that you may be required to re-authenticate your account due to the work done behind the scenes.

For more information on integrating SimplePay with QuickBooks, head on over to our help page.

Team SimplePay 

We’re App Partner of the Year Finalists

SimplePay is delighted and proud to announce that we have been chosen as a finalist for the App Partner of the Year: South Africa for the Xero Awards taking place in March 2020. Xero is the leading cloud-based accounting software in the market and we are honoured to be recognised for our integration and synergy.

As SimplePay uses the same approach to Xero integration in all our regions, you can be assured that you are receiving the same quality features no matter what region you are in. We aspire to be finalists in all regions when these awards are announced in the future. 

A huge thank you to our wonderful team. Your dedication and commitment to making SimplePay the best cloud-based payroll system for our customers has made this possible. And of course, an even bigger thank you to our customers. Without your support, loyalty and feedback, we wouldn’t be what we are. We look forward to continuing to serve your payroll needs.

To find out more about SimplePay’s integration with Xero, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

New Feature: Employee Leave Expiration

Introducing the latest system expansion from the SimplePay team: employee leave expiration for leave days carried over.

With our aim to give you the ultimate payroll experience, you can now customise your leave settings even further by specifying how long leave carried over from a previous
leave cycle remains valid for. For example, you might have a policy that any unused leave from 2019 may carry over to 2020, but if it is not used by the end of June 2020, it will expire and be forfeited.

This is usually done to ensure that your employees’ leave does not excessively accumulate. In addition, by prompting employees to take their leave in due course, it leads to increased employee well-being which has long-term benefits for both employees and the company. Before implementing this on the system, ensure that it aligns with your company’s leave policy and your employees’ contracts to avoid any labour disputes.

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To make use of this new feature on current policies, follow these easy steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Leave.
  2. Click on View next to the leave type that you wish to edit.
  3. Under Available Entitlement Policies, click on View next to the entitlement policy that you wish to edit.
  4. If the Allow leave to be carried forward to next cycle? checkbox is set, there will now be an additional line that appears under it.
  5. In the new field , enter the number of months that leave must be held for before expiring.
  6. Click Save.

If you are creating a new leave policy, you will be able to follow the same process when creating the entitlement policy.

For more information on creating and editing leave entitlement policies, head over to our help page here.

Team SimplePay

New Self-Service Features

We have been working on expanding our self-service functionality recently and are pleased to announce that we have added two new features. These changes allow you to disable different types of self-service requests (i.e. leave and / or info update requests). You’re now also able to hide leave balances for all or some of your leave types.

You can make these setup changes by navigating to Employees > Self-Service > Settings and then selecting either General or Leave from the drop-down menu.

To disable self-service request types, select General from the menu and select whichever types of requests you would like to disable for self-service. Once you’ve done this, self-service users won’t be able to submit any new requests for the type you disabled.

To hide leave balances, select Leave from the menu and uncheck the leave types for which you would like to hide the balances. After you’ve done this, self-service users won’t be able to see their leave balances for the specific leave type, but will still be able to submit requests.

We hope that these new features improve your payroll processing experience. 

For more information on how to make these changes, please refer to our help site pages here or contact our support team.

Team SimplePay

Additional Customization: Payment Dates

Three weeks ago we released this blog post announcing that you can now edit payment dates for payslips per employee on the employee’s profile, as well as in bulk. This feature lay the ground work for us to develop further customization to payment dates, giving you more flexibility in specifying when the payment for an employee occurs.

We are happy to announce that this further customization is now available. The changes are as follows:

  • For fixed payment dates, you can now specify whether the date specified refers to the previous month (i.e. payment is made in advance), the current month or the next month (i.e. payment is made in arrears).
  • For relative payment dates, you can specify how many days the payment is processed before or after the payslip date.

The payment date options are dependent on the type of pay frequency:

  • Monthly and twice monthly pay frequencies have the option to use either fixed payment dates or relative payment dates.
  • Pay frequencies that are weekly or every two weeks make use of relative payment dates.

More information about pay frequencies and payment dates can be read on this help article.

Just another way that we continue to ensure that you get payroll that simply works!

Team SimplePay

Individual Pay Dates and Bulk Date Changes

We are happy to announce two enhancements to the system regarding dates used on payslips:

Payment Dates per Payslip

Setting up the payment date for employees is done when adding a new pay frequency. All employees on that pay frequency therefore have the same payment date reflected on their payslip. However, we realise that you may have different payment policies for employees on the same pay frequency. Therefore, we have now added additional flexibility which enables you to select a different payment date for each employee and each payslip.

  • To customise the payment date for a payslip:
  • Go to the employee’s profile and click on the date next to Payslip
  • Click on Change Date.
  • Scroll to the Change Payment Date section and enter the new date of the payslip.
  • Click on Change Payment Date.

To check the payment date for an employee for a payslip, simply hover over the calendar icon next to the payslip’s date:

Bulk Date Changes

The changing of payment dates for payslips, as well as overriding of payslip end dates can be done in bulk. Overriding end dates is used to extend or shorten the payment period for a specified payslip. To change either of these dates in bulk, go to Employees > Bulk Actions and then click on Payslip Dates under Payslip Inputs.

Information about these new features and enhancements can be found in the following help page articles:

We hope that these system features and enhancements make your payroll processing experience even better. If you need any further assistance, please reach out to our support team.

Team SimplePay