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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on SIRS for Business Owners

NOTICE PAPER NO. 139 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 4 NOVEMBER 2020

QUESTION NO. 378 FOR ORAL ANSWER

MP: Mr Murali Pillai

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) whether flexibility may be exercised to extend the Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) to Singapore citizens who originally ran businesses as self-employed persons but later injected their businesses into companies incorporated by them with no employees; and (b) if not, what other schemes may be extended to this group of Singaporeans who are affected by the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic but who do not receive the benefit of SIRS, Jobs Support Scheme or COVID-19 Support Grant.

Answer

  1. The Self-Employed Person (SEP) Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) helps Singaporean SEPs with less means and family support tide over this period of economic uncertainty. As of end October, close to $1.8 billion has been disbursed to about 200,000 SEPs.

     

  2. Business owners and shareholder-directors of private limited companies may draw a salary from their companies and do not declare trade income.

     

  3. Instead of SIRS, the Government has extended the Jobs Support Scheme to cover wages of employees who are also shareholder-directors if their assessable income in the Year of Assessment 2019 does not exceed $100,000, which is broadly comparable to the income criteria for SIRS. About 50,000 shareholder-directors have benefited from this enhancement. This is in addition to JSS support for other local employees in the company.

     

  4. To help Singaporeans cope with the impact of COVID-19, we have also provided broad-based help to families, such as the Solidarity Payment and the Care and Support – Cash schemes. Those who require further financial support may seek help through the MSF Social Service Offices. MSF has also exercised more flexibility when considering ComCare applications during this period, to ensure affected Singaporeans and their families can get help.