Career News (May 2020)

Local news on the labour front for May 2020.

Highlights of manpower news in Singapore this month included:

Fortitude Budget to provide $33b more to help workers and businesses

On 26 May, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat announced the Fortitude Budget, Singapore’s fourth Budget in less than four months. It set aside $2.9 billion to extend job protection and co-pay salaries to help firms retain workers, and the Jobs Support Scheme will also be extended.

“This is a landmark package, and a necessary response to an unprecedented crisis,” said DPM Heng. “A distinctive feature of this Budget is that we are setting aside a bigger contingent sum.”


President Halimah Yacob urges Singaporeans to prepare for a changed work life after coronavirus crisis

President Halimah Yacob said in her May Day message on Facebook that society will see major changes to work, the workforce and workplaces after the coronavirus crisis.

She emphasised that: “Companies and workers should take full advantage of this period to plan, rethink their strategies and ramp up workers’ skills to prepare for work after Covid-19.”

She also highlighted the essential contributions of frontline healthcare workers and other service workers.


9 in 10 wish to continue working from home

Nine in 10 employees in Singapore who want to continue working from home in some capacity, according to a survey of 9,000 respondents from almost 90 companies. Many people around the world who had never considered this kind of working life also love what they have now tasted, and want to continue.

Some of the perks employees here have enjoyed include not having to commute to and from work, more flexibility with their time and greater control over work-life balance, according to the survey.


Employers should provide retrenchment benefits and be generous to low-wage workers, MOM advises

Employers who need to lay off staff during this Covid-19 pandemic should provide retrenchment benefits according to their financial position, and should treat their employees with “empathy and dignity”, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Companies that are in sound financial position should pay out the benefits agreed on in their employment contracts, collective agreements, memoranda of understanding, or the prevailing norms stated in the tripartite advisory on managing excess manpower and responsible retrenchment. The norms are between two weeks and one month of salary per year of service.


Hotel staff redeployed in supermarkets

More than 150 Singaporean and permanent resident staff from seven hotels have been redeployed to Cold Storage, Giant and Guardian stores under the Dairy Farm Group. This is part of continuing efforts from the government and Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) to place hotel workers in new roles such as SG Clean Ambassadors.


DBS to hire more than 2,000 people amid economic downturn

DBS said in a press release on Thursday that of the 2,000 people it is committed to hiring, more than 1,000 will be in new roles comprising a mix of apprenticeships for fresh graduates as well as more specialised roles for seasoned professionals.


140,000 employers to get $4 billion in Jobs Support Scheme

Under the upcoming payout for May the Government will pay 75% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages per local worker to help firms during the coronavirus pandemic. The upcoming payment will include back-payments for firms with such shareholder-directors whose wages were excluded from the first JSS payout last month.


SGUnited Traineeships Programme, and other grants to help job market weakened by Covid-19

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo sympathsied with fresh graduates and other jobseekers on the difficulties of entering a job market heavily affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Protecting Singaporeans’ livelihoods remains the Manpower Ministry’s (MOM) top priority, stressed Mrs Teo.


Workers continue to face challenges as firms activate cost-cutting measures

By the end of April, MOM had received approximately 3,000 notifications since the middle of March from firms implementing cost-cutting measures. Employers who implement cost-saving measures during the circuit breaker period from April 7 to June 1 must notify the ministry if they have at least 10 employees and have cut salaries by more than 25%.

Despite government support such as wage subsidies and loan schemes, some firms may still have to put workers on shorter work weeks or no-pay leave, ask them to take pay cuts, or reduce bonuses, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) stated.


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