Since the onslaught of Covid-19, the Government has released THREE unprecedented budgets to help Singaporeans tide through this difficult time. And one key phrase has been repeated in all three budgets, which is “saving jobs, protecting livelihoods”.
As the adage goes, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. Singapore, being the practical nation that we are, obviously chooses to safeguard jobs so we can feed our people “for a lifetime”.
It’s easy to fall prey to negative thinking and to compare Singapore with other countries which may have a welfare system in place. It sounds way too good to be true (and often is), to think that money can fall from the sky and everyone deserves something like an unemployment welfare payout. However, let’s consider the flipside, would you be willing to pay sky high taxes, I’m talking like 60% and above to fund for such welfare privileges in your retirement?
In addition, such a welfare system could cause a strain in society, deficit in a country’s reserves and a huge burden to the younger generations who have to bear the costs eventually. Would you be motivated to work hard for your keep if you knew that you would receive money being unemployed and not have to pay taxes? In comparison, would that be fair to those who choose to work hard but have to pay so much taxes to support those who don’t?
While I let that idea sit in your mind, let me explain some of the schemes that have been put in place to help all Singaporeans.
Under the Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), the Government will be:
- Paying 25% on the first $4600 of monthly salaries (up from 8% on the first $3600 previously)
- For the month of April 2020, subsidising a WHOPPING 75% on the first $4600 of monthly salaries for every Singaporean employee (This doesn’t mean that no subsidy will be given for those who earn above $4600, it simply means that it will be capped at a maximum limit of $4600.)
- The Jobs Support Scheme will be for 9 months till the end of 2020 (up from 3 months previously)
Under the Enhanced Wage Credit Scheme (WCS):
- There will be an additional $500m for employees’ wage increases, on top of $600m disbursed in March 2020
Why shouldn’t the Government focus solely on helping individuals directly rather than employers then? Let me explain a simple scenario…
It is more effective for the Government to reach out to employers, support businesses and in turn jobs. Why? If businesses wind up due to Covid-19, jobs will be lost. Employees are essential and securing their livelihoods is a topmost priority. If this means that the Government has to step in to help employers, then Singapore should do so. The idea is to achieve a “trickling down effect”, that eventually helps everyone and as many people as possible.
Lastly, do not forget that the Government is also giving help to individuals and families in the forms of GST vouchers and various cash payouts. Let’s all stay encouraged and united. We can get through this together.