Singapore Gives More Wage Support for Aviation, Tourism Sectors

Singapore will provide additional wage support to protect jobs in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic such as aviation and tourism till March next year, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said Monday in a televised address to the nation.

With some sectors recovering faster than others, the government will adjust support based on the projected recovery, Heng said. Here are details of Singapore’s upcoming wage support plans:

  • 50% wage support for seven more months for firms in the aerospace, aviation and tourism sectors
  • 50% wage support for construction sector for two more months, then lowered to 30% to March, 2021
  • 30% wage support for arts and entertainment, food services, land transport, marine and offshore and retail sectors till March 2021
  • 10% wage support for the other large majority of remaining sectors till March 2021
  • For a few sectors seen as managing well, including biomedical sciences, financial services, the government plans to provide 10% support for four more months, for wages paid up to December

The latest relief measures mean that most businesses will eventually have received wage support for more than a year as Singapore seeks to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic on jobs. The government has disbursed over S$16 billion of wage support, benefiting over two million local workers in more than 150,000 firms, Heng said.

“While the unemployment rate has gone up, we have so far managed to keep it below the peak levels seen during SARS and the Global Financial Crisis,” he added.

Still, Heng warned that support couldn’t be indefinite, saying Singapore “cannot sustain” its job support scheme at current levels as it draws heavily on reserves and “risks trapping our workers in unviable businesses.”

Heng said businesses should use the extended support to retain and upskill workers, “and to transform your operations for the post-Covid-19 world” in order to “spring back faster when the recovery comes.”

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