Singapore extends job support for struggling aviation, tourism sectors

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Tourism, aviation and aerospace sectors – worst-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions – will get a further six-month extension to the Singapore government’s Jobs Support Scheme (JSS).

Through the programme, the government will cover part of the wages paid out by qualified companies, with subsidies ranging from 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

Tourism and aviation firms will continue to receive wage support from the government this year

Payout for 30 per cent of wages paid from April to June 2021 will be issued in September, while another 10 per cent paid from July to September will come in December.

The wage support will apply to the first S$4,600 (US$3,476.42) of gross monthly wages paid to each Singaporean or permanent resident employee.

In addition, schemes in support of career growth, training and attachment opportunities will be extended. There will also be continued access to trade loan assistance and grants for self-employed individuals and workers who have lost their jobs or are placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months.

The extended JSS is part of an S$11 billion COVID-19 Resilience Package announced for Budget 2021 this afternoon. It is also the fourth extension for the scheme since its introduction in February 2020.

Deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat said the extended JSS will cost the government S$700 million, and adjustments will be made based on the projected recovery of the different sectors. Other sectors that qualify for the extended JSS include food services, retail, marine and offshore as well as arts and entertainment.

Since its launch, JSS has subsidised 25 to 75 per cent of wages paid for 10 months and supported over 150,000 employers for up to 17 months.

In all, JSS has cost the government more than S$25 billion.

Aloysius Arlando, president of the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS), said in a public message to members and industry colleagues that that government’s recent budgets and COVID-19 Resilience Package all aim to “safeguard lives, jobs, supply chains and core economic capabilities”.

“From 2021, our focus will be on Emerging Stronger, Together,” Arlando said, and urged members and industry colleagues to seek opportunities to “do things differently and collaboratively for the betterment of our business and people”.

Arlando said: “We encourage SACEOS members to not waste this lull period; work on hybrid event models, build up future-work-ready capabilities as outlined in the Event Industry Resilience Roadmap, adopt the certified practice to construct, conduct under the Safe Event Framework, and apply these permitted event parameters to test out business models, partnerships in pilot events.”

Commenting on the latest JSS arrangements, Singapore Airlines (SIA) CEO Goh Choon Phong said the government measures, which include vaccination priority for the aviation industry, “will help to bolster the SIA Group’s plans to navigate the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, while remaining nimble and flexible to seize all opportunities as international routes re-open and travel sentiments improve”.

Goh added: “The initiatives will also help our employees to retain their knowledge and competencies, and acquire new skills if necessary, ensuring that they are future-ready during this critical period.”

Editor’s note: The original post has been updated to reflect further details on the JSS extension and to include a statement from the SACEOS president.

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