Singapore

More help for workers hit hard by pandemic

New grant will cushion impact from other support schemes coming to an end

Lower- to middle-income workers, who have been hit hard by the ongoing pandemic, will get extra help from next year under a scheme announced yesterday.

The Covid-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) will also cushion the impact from other financial support schemes drawing to a close by the end of this year. Meanwhile, cabbies will get help through the new Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Social and Family Development noted that some people remain "significantly affected" by job or income losses as the pandemic wears on. Targeted support will therefore be given to this group through the CRG. The new grant is different from the Covid-19 Support Grant or Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs), both of which are coming to an end.

Under the new grant, two groups of people will be able to get up to $700 a month for three months. These are people who are unemployed - either on account of retrenchment or because their contracts were terminated - or those who have been placed on involuntary no-pay leave for at least three consecutive months.

Other groups will get up to $500 a month for three months under the CRG. These are:

l Employees who are facing salary losses of at least 50 per cent on average for at least three consecutive months; and

l Self-employed people facing an average loss in net trade income (NTI) of at least 50 per cent over a period of at least three consecutive months, compared to their average monthly NTI last year or this year.

All these losses must have occurred after Jan 23, when the first case of Covid-19 was found here. The applicants must still be suffering such losses at the point of application.

Applicants must have had a gross monthly household income of $7,800 or less, or a monthly per capita income of $2,600 or less before being affected by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority, which announced the new Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund for taxi and private-hire car drivers, noted that ridership in this sector remains muted and fares tend to be lower as a result of shorter commutes.

The fund, which will give drivers $600 for each vehicle every month between January and March, is meant to help with this, it said. The payout will be reduced to $450 a month between April and June.

LTA said the new relief fund will cost $133 million, and it replaces the existing Special Relief Fund. About 52,000 drivers eligible for the Special Relief Fund will automatically qualify for the new fund. However, drivers who get payouts under the Covid-19 Driver Relief Fund will not be eligible for the CRG.

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