To help Singapore see through the economic downturn, Finance Minister Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the $20.5 billion Resilience Package in Parliament on 22 January 2009, with the following initiatives relating to CPF:
To sustain jobs for Singaporeans, a Jobs Credit scheme will be introduced. This is to encourage businesses to preserve jobs as much as is possible in the downturn.
The Jobs Credit that an employer receives will comprise 12% of the first $2,500 of the wages of each employee who is on the CPF payroll. It will be given in four quarterly payments, with each payment being based on the workers who are with the employer at the time. This will therefore provide incentive for employers to retain their local workers. For example, for a worker whose wage is $2,500, an employer will get $900 a quarter, or $300 a month.
Employers will receive the first payment at the end of March this year. The next three payments will be in June, September and December 2009.
WIS Special Payment
There will be a temporary top-up to the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme received by low-income workers, known as the WIS Special Payment. This is to supplement the low-income workers’ pay and encourage them to stay at work.
The WIS Special Payment will provide low-income workers with an additional 50% of the WIS payments that they will receive over the course of this year. As an illustration, a 50-year old employee who has been working throughout 2008 and 2009, earning $1,000 a month, will receive $600 in WIS Special Payment, fully in cash. This will be on top of the $1,200 in WIS that he will receive for this year’s work.
As this is a special measure for the downturn, the work eligibility criteria of the WIS Special Payment will be relaxed to allow those workers with less regular employment to qualify as well.
Additional GST Credits
To give direct assistance to households, the GST Credits that households will be receiving in 2009 will be doubled. Each household will get an additional payout of GST Credits on 1 March 2009, on top of the one they will receive in July. This is to help households with their immediate needs.
As before, more GST Credits will be given more to the low-income and the old. For example, a Singaporean retiree (aged 60 or above) living in a four-room HDB flat, will get an additional $400, or a total of $800 in GST Credits and Senior Citizens’ Bonuses in 2009.
Source: CPF Board