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Helping businesses on manpower issues

MOM has introduced temporary schemes to help companies manage the manpower disruptions caused by COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).

Updated as of 28 May 2021

Temporary scheme to allow companies to transfer foreign workers to manage manpower needs

With the entry of work pass holders into Singapore being restricted to a very small number to reduce the risk of importation, MOM will be extending the following temporary scheme to help more firms hire workers who are already in Singapore until 31 August 2021. 

The temporary arrangement allowing transfers across sectors is discontinued from 1 March 2021, in view of the low demand for such transfers.

Allow transfers of foreign workers within their own business sectors

Firms in all sectors can hire existing Work Permit holders from their own sector, where the work permits are between 40 days and 21 days (inclusive)* to expiry. Agreement of the current employer is not required. This is an extension of a scheme that exists for the construction and process sectors for transfers within their own sectors.

When there are more than 40 days or fewer than 21 days to Work Permit expiry, firms in all sectors can hire existing Work Permit holders from their own sector, with the agreement of the current employer.

Hiring firms will be required to meet the prevailing Work Permit criteria under their respective sectors.

With more than 40 days or less than 21 days before Work Permit expiry

Between 40 days and 21 days (inclusive) to Work Permit expiry

Firms can submit their request online for transfers.

Manpower-matching assistance

Hiring firms who need assistance to search for an existing Work Permit holder from the same sector who is available for transfer can also approach their respective sector associations:

Sectors Sector associates
Manufacturing Singpore Business Federation
Services Singapore Business Federation (SBF)
Construction Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL)
Process Association of Process Industries (ASPRI)
Marine shipyard Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI)

For more info, read the FAQs on temporary scheme to help businesses manage manpower disruptions due to COVID-19.

Additional temporary relief measures to help companies with immediate effect

Three-month extension of levy payment timeline for SMEs

MOM will provide SMEs with an additional three months to make the levy payment. SMEs will have up to 5 months to pay for the foreign worker levy from the month it is incurred before revocation action kicks in.

This temporary relief measure will apply to levies incurred in the year 2020. Firms who are making use of the extended timeline are encouraged to retain existing workers and should not be employing fresh foreign workers. MOM will hence allow renewals but not new applications of work passes from these firms.

The late payment penalty of 2% monthly will still apply for levies which are deferred. Firms are hence encouraged to exercise financial prudence and plan their cash flow to pay levies on time as far as possible.

See illustration using levy incurred for the month of March 2020.

Up to 90 days levy waiver for foreign workers on overseas leave

Currently, MOM allows levy waiver for up to 60 days for foreign workers who go on overseas home leave for at least 7 consecutive days. In view of travel restrictions and difficulties workers may face in returning to Singapore, MOM will extend the levy waiver period to up to 90 days with immediate effect for foreign workers who are currently on overseas leave. Employer who send their foreign workers home from now till end-2020 will also be eligible for levy waiver, subject to the 90-day cap. Employers arranging for their workers to leave Singapore and seeking a return subsequently will be subject to the prevailing conditions then.

You can apply for the waiver at CPF website.

Expansion of the Man-year entitlement (MYE) refund scheme for construction firms

To support the industry’s effort in resuming operation, MOM, in partnership with the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), has decided to expand the temporary MYE refund scheme. This scheme will allow firms to claim for unused MYE for workers who could not work due to Circuit Breaker and other COVID measures between 1 Apr – 31 Aug 2020. Firms which employ MYE workers during this 5-month period will be considered for the MYE refund.

Firms which are eligible will receive an email from BCA between Dec 2020 and February 2021 on the claim procedures. As per the earlier scheme, firms have to use the refunded MYE within 1 year.

You can find out more about the expanded MYE refund scheme.

For more info, read the FAQs on temporary scheme to help businesses manage manpower disruptions due to COVID-19.