Budget 2016: Low-income workers, disabled to benefit from Workfare enhancements

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SINGAPORE – Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled a number of measures to help low wage workers and the disabled in Singapore’s workforce in his Budget statement on Thursday (Mar 24).

For low-waged workers, help will come in the form of enhancements to the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme, which tops ups the income and CPF savings of low-wage workers aged 35 and over.

In his speech, Mr Heng announced that the WIS will be extended to workers earning up to $2,000 a month, increasing the income ceiling from the current $1,900 a month.

Eligible workers will also receive higher payouts, depending on their income and age. For instance, the bottom 20th percentile of workers who earn between $1,000 and $1,600 a month will receive increases in payouts of between $100 to $500.

Employees will continue to receive 40 per cent of WIS in cash, with the remainder of the payment going into their CPF accounts.

Finally, the qualifying criteria for WIS will also be simplified, with the payouts being made for every month worked, enabling workers to receive the payments more quickly.

Mr Heng said that the changes will kick in from January next year, and expects the scheme to benefit about 460,000 Singaporeans.

More support was also extended to persons with disabilities, who will also benefit from the improvements to the WIS scheme.

In addition, the Workfare Training Support scheme, which had previously only been open to low-income workers over 35, will be opened to disabled workers who are under 35 as well. This will enable them to upgrade their skills through training.

Meanwhile, employers who hire disabled persons who earn up to $4,000 a month will continue to receive the Special Employment Credit of up to 16 per cent of the employee’s wages.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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Thursday, March 24, 2016 – 20:34
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