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New Measures to Develop Manpower Capabilities in this Economic Downturn

3 May 2009

The Ministry of Manpower is introducing new measures under SPUR (Skiils Programme for Upgrading and Resilience) to further develop Singapore's manpower capabilities and provide greater support for companies and workers, especially Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), affected by the downturn. They are:

a) Increase in Absentee Payroll to better support training for PMETs;

b) SPUR-JOBS to encourage recruitment and retention of trainees of SPUR and other WDA CET programmes; and

c) Professional Skills Programme Traineeships (PSPT) scheme for companies to build new capabilities in growth sectors.

Increase in Absentee Payroll Cap

2.  From 15 May 2009, the absentee payroll cap will be increased from $6/$6.80 to $10 per training hour for workers sent for training under SPUR. This is a significant increase.  It will provide greater support for employers, especially those who send their PMETs for training.

3.  A company will now be able to claim up to about $1,600 a month for its worker undergoing full-time SPUR training (about 160 hours a month), compared to the maximum of about $1,100 currently.

4.  Please refer to Annex A for more details of the increase in the absentee payroll cap under SPUR.


5.  SPUR-JOBS is a new two-year programme administered by WDA, to encourage companies to recruit and retain local workers who are trainees of SPUR and other WDA CET programmes.

6.  Companies can receive a grant of up to $5,000 per worker, or up to $400,000 per company, to co-fund costs incurred in recruitment and training.  This can include on-the-job training, job redesign to make the jobs more suitable for local workers, as well as productivity improvements, job scheduling or technology improvements. The grant will be computed based on the number of workers to be recruited subject to a cap of 80% of total project cost.

7.  Please refer to Annex B for more details of SPUR-JOBS.

Professional Skills Programme Traineeships (PSPT)

8.  A total of 2,500 traineeships will be offered over two years under the PSPT. The PSPT is intended to help companies in growth sectors to build new manpower capabilities. The traineeships will offer fresh graduates and retrenched PMETs the opportunities to be equipped with relevant work experience to enhance their employability.

9.  Local job seekers can take up traineeships that will have a duration ranging from 6 to 24 months.  The trainees will undergo structured training and gain meaningful work experience. Trainees will also receive training stipends.

10.  PSPT is a multi-agency scheme which will be administered by MOM, EDB, IE Singapore, SPRING, MAS, MPA and WDA. The PSPT will be part of each agency's overall plan to develop capabilities in their sector, such as EDB's Prep-Up and MPA's Maritime Cluster Fund.

11.  Please refer to Annex C for more details of the PSPT.

Building New Manpower Capabilities

12.  These new measures build upon those the Government has put in place last December, including the Tripartite Guidelines for Managing Excess Manpower, the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) and the Jobs Credit Scheme. These measures enable companies to cut costs, save jobs and build up capabilities for the future.