COVID-19 Outbreak Frightens Businesses and Employees Across Singapore; Financial Backing Set To Intensify
At the start of 2019, economists and recruiters in Singapore foretold a weak job market. However, in line with the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) things were totally different because the predictions were unsuccessful.
Records showed that within the first nine months of 2019, employment was at the very best rate and notably within the construction sector. The sector which needs intensive labor was somewhat ‘resurrecting’ after three years of inactivity. Yet, towards the third quarter, job gaps began failing and there have been looming retrenchments.
And just like any other country across the globe, Singapore has also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. People have lost jobs, businesses have shut and most recently the government introduced a 14 – day travel ban in cooperation with Malaysia. The two countries agreed to work together to control the spread of the virus. The measure though strongly recommended will affect hundreds of Malaysians who work and live in Singapore.
Government’s support for fresh graduates entering the job market
The end of the year is meant to be a joyous moment for several students as they give the impression of looking forward to graduation. They begin prospecting, networking and finding their methods into the task market. However, the upcoming 2020 graduates are likely to take home a bittersweet victory with the looming challenge of unemployment in Singapore.
The impact of COVID-19 is deepening in both private and public economies the most vulnerable professionals being managers, technicians of the PMET category and executives. They make up the largest number of the local workforce. Unfortunately, they are the hardest hit with lay-offs and are would also take longer to re-employ the affected employees. This because the new digital economy has overshadowed a majority of the PMTE skills.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat acknowledged, “First-time job seekers may be concerned about the current job market…including our students who have just graduated or are graduating from ITE (Institute of Technical Education), polytechnics and universities this year.”
Fixing the situation amid near-term uncertainties triggered by COVID-19
The world is packed with concern and uncertainty. No one, not even the leaders recognize what tomorrow can bring. Yet, they need to be gamey, assured and eager for the sake of their voters. According to Keat, there’s a necessity to determine measures of saving the economy by creating the most effective use of what’s out there.
The PM was addressing reporters at Changi Airport, where he also acknowledged that the aviation industry was one of the hardest-hit sectors. Singapore Airlines (SIA) has cut 96% of its of its capability whereas deploying the affected staff to alternative departments.
The numbers of the unemployed are likely to increase but Keat says the government will establish means of helping them. There is already more than S$750 million set aside to support Singapore’s aviation sector. Another S$400 million will be available for support jobs scheme whereby the government will take care of 75% of the worker’s monthly wages.
The state help for low- and middle-income staff
The government is willing to supply state advantages with grants and coaching programs for recent graduates. Anyone losing their jobs from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak is entitled to an $800 grant for three months. This will be in addition to 8,000 traineeships for fresh graduates in large and small enterprises as they search for further training.
Science and technology will be the primary areas of the traineeship. This will target research and development labs, incubators, accelerators, and deep-tech start-ups. The trainees will also get a training allowance. There will also be funding for companies offering traineeships from government agency Workforce Singapore (WSG). The good news is that many more employment agencies commit to creating more jobs to cover up the economic restructuring.
DPM Keat said, “Our agencies have been planning our manpower needs early, and there is a range of jobs which we need to fill in emerging areas. We will fast-track engagement plans to fill these roles…”
There will be the creation of over and above 10,000 jobs in the next year by the government. This is often in line with the SGUnited Jobs initiative. Meanwhile, there’ll be temporary jobs in many sectors including health declaration assistants, transport ambassadors, and support officers.
Household facilitate from the Temporary Relief Fund
As all this unfolds, many Singaporeans are in quandary on how they shall meet their house expenses and monthly bills.. Even so, Keat has promised to put in more help towards families through a Care and Support package. Initially, it was about S$1.6 billion and will be increased to S$4.6 billion.
Adult Singaporeans who have previously received S$300 will now receive S$900 cash payout. Singaporean parents with younger children of below 20years will also get S$300 instead of the usual S$100.
Aged Singaporeans of above 50years and who will receive S$100 will have it through their bank accounts as a replacement for of PAssion cards. The government will also triple the amounts of grocery vouchers from S$100 to S$300.The disbursement of all these cashouts is expected to take place between August and September this year.
There is a suspension of interest charges on loan repayments for students for one year. This means students do not have to worry about their loans as they look for jobs during these hard economic times. The suspension also applies to HDB mortgage arrears for three months.
The freelancers and the self-employed will also have a share of cash payouts under the country’s labor movement, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
All these efforts aim to present individuals’ assurance of continuity with their usual lives and defend jobs, livelihoods and alternative initiatives as the government continues with close monitoring of the COVID – 19 situations. Keat explains that every arm of the government will stay alert just in case there is a need to take drastic and swift actions.
Despite all the current challenges, the Singaporean government seems ready to deal with any blow thrown at its door even as it looks up to recovery.