}

29 June 2021

On 28 May 2021, the Ministry of Finance (“MOF”) issued a press release introducing support measures for businesses and individuals during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) (“P2(HA)”) period, from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021, during which tighter restrictions on higher-risk activities were implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 community cases. Some of these support measures were extended following the announcement of the calibrated reopening to Phase 3 (Heightened Alert).

Details of the support measures are set out below.

JSS enhanced for affected sectors from 16 May 2021 to 2 July 2021

The Jobs Support Scheme (“JSS”) provides wage support to employers for the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to local employees. The Government enhanced the JSS to provide support to sectors that have been significantly affected by the P2(HA) tightened measures from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021. On 18 June 2021, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced an extension of the JSS enhancements for affected sectors in view of the continued tightened safe management measures of various activities until mid-July 2021. A general overview of the JSS enhancements is as follows:

Sectors with JSS enhancement

JSS support for

Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021 and Stage 1 of Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) from 14 to 20 June 2021

Extension of JSS support

21 June 2021 to 11 July 2021
(3 weeks)

12 to 25 July 2021 (2 weeks)

Closed sectors or sectors with enhanced safe management measures

·  Food and beverage

·  Gyms and fitness studios

·  Performing Arts & Arts Education

50%

50%

10%

Significantly affected sectors

·  Retail

·  Cinemas

·  Museums, art galleries, historical sites

·  Family entertainment

30%

30%

10%

(Source: IRAS webpage on Jobs Support Scheme)

In addition, affected personal care services will receive 30% enhanced JSS until 20 June 2021, and 10% from 21 to 30 June 2021.

Other businesses significantly affected by the P2(HA) tightened measures and which would like to appeal for enhanced JSS support may do so at go.gov.sg/jss.

The enhanced payout will be disbursed from September 2021. MOF states that as JSS payouts are intended to offset and protect local employees’ wages, employers who put local employees on mandatory no-pay leave or retrench them will not be eligible for JSS payouts for those employees. More details on the enhanced JSS support is available on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) JSS webpage.

Rental support for qualifying tenants of commercial properties 

To support businesses with rental costs, the Government is providing rental relief to small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”), and eligible non-profit organisations (“NPOs”) with an annual revenue not exceeding S$100 million, who are tenant-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties in the following manner:

  • Government-owned commercial properties: One-month rental relief for qualifying tenants of government-owned commercial properties. Tenants are required to pass down the rental relief received to qualifying sub-tenants, if any.  
  • Privately-owned commercial properties: Some landlords have given rental waivers or rebates to support their tenants during this P2(HA) period. To provide additional support, IRAS will disburse a 0.5-month rental relief cash payout (“cash payout”) directly to qualifying tenants as part of a new Rental Support Scheme. The cash payout will be disbursed starting from mid-August 2021 and computed based on the latest contractual gross rent within the period 14 to 29 May 2021.

Separately, property owners who run an SME business or an eligible NPO on their own qualifying commercial property will also be eligible for the cash payout, computed based on the annual value of the property (or part of it) for Year 2021 as at 14 May 2021.

MOF states that most qualifying tenants and owner-occupiers will receive the cash payout automatically without needing to submit an application. The cash payout will not be disbursed automatically to tenants who only rent part of a property, or to tenants who rent a mixed-use property (e.g. a shophouse for both retail and residential use), and/or to licensees. Such businesses should submit an application to IRAS, and provide supporting documents. IRAS provides more details of the Rental Support Scheme on its Government Cash Payout (2021 Rental Support Scheme) webpage.

Other reliefs

The Government introduced other reliefs, including the following:

  • Support for arts group, and affected gyms and fitness studios: The Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth extended support to the arts group under its Arts and Culture Resilience Package and enhanced the Sports Resilience Package (“SRP”) to provide operating grants to affected gyms and fitness studios.
  • CRG-T for financially impacted lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed persons: The Covid-19 Recovery Grant (Temporary) (“CRG-T”) provides one-off support for lower- to middle-income employees and self-employed persons who experience at least one month of involuntary NPL or income loss of at least 50% for at least one month as a result of the tightened measures.

 The CGR-T initially covered the period between 16 May 2021 and 30 June 2021, and was subsequently extended until 31 July 2021.

Eligible individuals placed on involuntary no-pay leave may receive a one-off payout of up to S$700, and those experiencing significant income loss may receive a one-off payout of up to S$500. Applications close on 2 July 2021. Existing CRG-T recipients who continue to require assistance can also apply for a second tranche of CRG-T support in July.

More information is available on the Ministry of Social and Family Development (“MSF”) Covid-19 Recovery Grant - Temporary (CRG-T) for Workers Affected by Heightened Alert Measures webpage.

  • Extension of suspension of repayment and interest charges for Ministry of Education (“MOE”) loans: To alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on graduates, MOE had earlier suspended the repayment and interest charges for Tuition Fee Loans, Study Loans and Overseas Student Programme Loans for all autonomous university and polytechnic graduates for one year, from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. Given the economic uncertainty, MOE has extended the suspension of loan repayment and interest charges by another four months, until 30 September 2021.
  • Support for the transport sector: The Ministry of Transport announced the enhancement of the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund payout to taxi and private hire car drivers from 16 May 2021 to 30 June 2021, from S$450 per month per vehicle to S$750 per month per vehicle, in view of the expected fall in ridership under P2(HA).

On 24 May 2021, Changi Airport Group also announced the waiver of rental fees for the period of closure from 14 May 2021 to 13 June 2021 for retailers in the Changi Airport terminals.

Reference materials

The following materials are available on the MOF website www.mof.gov.sg, MOH website www.moh.gov.sg, IRAS website www.iras.gov.sg, MSF website www.msf.gov.sg, MOE website www.moe.gov.sg, and Land Transport Authority (“LTA”) website www.lta.gov.sg: