Workfare is a key pillar of Singapore’s social security landscape to provide support for low-wage workers so that they have the best chance to progress. Workfare encourages low-wage workers to work and supplements their income and CPF savings. Workfare also encourages low-wage workers to enhance their skills and employability, so that they can enjoy sustainable wage increases.
Workfare Income Supplement Scheme
The Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme was introduced in 2007 to supplement wages, encourage older low-wage workers to work regularly and build up their CPF savings. For employees, a component of WIS goes towards building up their CPF assets while a portion of WIS is paid in cash to help employees meet their short-term needs. For self-employed persons, 10% of WIS is paid in cash while the remainder is paid into their CPF Medisave Account. Through its emphasis on rewarding work, WIS provides an income supplement to low-wage workers while encouraging individual effort..
The Government announced the changes to the WIS scheme on 25 February 2013. For more information on the WIS scheme, visit the WIS webpage or call the Workfare hotline at 1800- 222-6622 (Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm).
Workfare Training Support Scheme
The Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme was introduced to complement the WIS. While WIS encourages older lower-wage workers to work by supplementing their income and retirement savings, WTS encourages them to upgrade their skills through training so that they can improve their employability and have the opportunity to earn more.
The WTS scheme comprises three components:
- An Enhanced Grant that provides 95% course fee subsidies, together with 95% absentee payroll funding for employers who send their low-wage workers for training, or training allowance for working Singaporeans who sponsor their own training;
- A Training Commitment Award of up to $400 a year for WIS recipients who complete the requisite training modules; and
- Workfare-Skill Up provides customised training programmes for low-skilled workers, especially those without secondary education. This covers all low-skilled workers regardless of their employment status.
For more information on the details of the WTS scheme, visit the Singapore Workforce Development Agency website or call WDA’s hotline at 1800-5368-333 (Monday to Friday: 8.30am - 8pm, Saturday: 8.30am - 1pm).
Workfare Special Bonus
To ensure that low-wage workers benefit from economic growth, and particularly in view of the strong economic recovery in 2010, the Minister for Finance announced a one-off Workfare Special Bonus (WSB) over and above the regular Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) payment. The Workfare Special Bonus will reward work done in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and be given in four payments.
As with WIS, older workers will receive higher WSB amounts. Employees will receive up to $2,800 in WSB. The payments will be made fully in cash. Self-employed persons (SEPs) will receive up to $1,868 in WSB, with half given out in cash and half going into their CPF-Medisave accounts.
For more information on the WSB, you may: