The Singapore government handed out over S$1 billion (US$750,000) to employers in 2020 under the Wage Credit Scheme, a scheme introduced in 2013 to support companies that are increasing the salaries of their local employees. This is up from the approximately S$600 million disbursed in 2019.
According to figures released by the Ministry of Finance and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, this year's payouts were given to over 95,000 employers, approximately 70 percent SMEs. 60 percent was released in March and the remaining amount in June.
The Wage Credit Scheme targets low and middle-income workers—those with an income of S$5,000 (US$3,750) or less—and subsidizes 15 percent of wage increases given to Singaporean employees in 2020 provided the employer meets eligibility criteria including the employees having been on the payroll for at least 3 months. Both the income cap and the amount subsidized were increased this year as part of Budget 2020.
The scheme is intended to “support businesses embarking on transformation efforts and encourage sharing of productivity gains with workers”, according to the fact sheet released by the ministry.
Figures from the Ministry of Manpower indicate that real income growth in Singapore has remained relatively consistent since the scheme was launched, but a breakdown of the changes specifically for this demographic is not immediately available.