Navigating COVID-19

Navigating COVID-19

This is a period of unprecedented change for all of us and we know this is a difficult time, especially for the fashion industry. As we closely monitor the guidance and instructions from our government, TaFF continues committed to helping our members and community weather from this global crisis, and prepare for the future.

We will continue to share with relevant information whenever there are new updates from the government.

TaFF has also spearheaded some quick initiatives and pulled together resources to help you in this period of uncertainty, as listed below.

For other updates on health and protection, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website here. For enquiries on membership, please reach us at marketing@taff.org.sg.

Last updated: 26 May 2020

Singapore’s Fortitude Budget was presented by Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat on 26 May 2020. Building on the Unity, Resilience and Solidarity budget, the Fortitude Budget aims to help individuals and businesses adapt and build resilience amid COVID-19. 

Fortitude Budget (26 May 2020)

  • $33 billion has been set aside for the latest “Fortitude” Budget.

  • Three key focus: (i) Protect livelihoods, transform businesses, (ii) Support households and community and (iii) Support frontline agencies in fight against pandemic

  • For Businesses

Jobs Support Scheme (JSS)

*3 Enhancements

  • To increase duration of JSS payouts for all eligible firms by 1 month – The additional payout will be computed based on wages paid in Aug 2020. Firms will receive in Oct 2020 pay-out.  
  • To continue wage support of 75% for firms which cannot open after 2nd June – Wage support at 75% for the circuit breaker period will be extended until August or till when the firms are allowed to open, whichever is earlier.  
  • Reclassification of tiered support for severely impacted sectors: For Retail sector, wage support will be increased from 25% to 50%. Eligible firms will receive a back-payment to top up their previous JSS payouts to the higher level (50%). This retrospective payment will be made by July.    

Foreign Worker Levy/ Rebate

For firms which cannot open on 2nd June, the Foreign Worker Levy and Rebate will be extended for up to 2 months.

  • The waiver will be 100% in June, and 50% in July.   
  • The rebate will be $750 in June, and $375 in July.  
  • Levy rates will be restored from August 2020 onwards, or when workers are able to work again, whichever is earlier.

Deferment of increased CPF contributions for senior workers

 Increased CPF contributions for senior workers will be deferred from Jan 2021 to Jan 2022.

Rental Waivers

  • A new government cash grant of $2 billion to be set aside to offset rental costs (of up to 2 months) for SME tenants. Will be disbursed automatically by IRAS to qualifying property owner by end July.
  • New COVID bill will ensure that SME tenants of qualifying commercial properties who have suffered a significant revenue drop will benefit from a total of four months of rental relief shared equally between the Government and landlords.
  • Commercial tenants /hawkers in public properties will get additional 2 months of rental waiver; bringing the total to 4 and 5 months respectively.
  • Other non-residential tenants in public properties (eg industrial, agricultural or office purposes) will receive additional 1 month of rental waiver; bringing the total to 2 months.
  • More details will be released by end of June 2020.

Digital Resilience Bonus

  • Eligible Retail & F&B firms can get up to $5000 if they adopt PayNow Corporate or e-invoicing, as well as business process or ecommerce solutions.
  • Additional support of $5000 if they adopt advanced digital solutions.

SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package SkillsFuture

  • Public sector will create 15,000 jobs, especially in healthcare and childhood education and short-term COVID-related jobs such as healthcare declaration assistants and swabbers.
  • Government agencies will also work with private sector to create another 25,000 jobs in a wide range of roles such computer engineers and machine operators.
  • Out of the 25,000 positions, 21,000 will be from SGUnited Traineeships programme for first-time job seekers (with high demand notably in IT, engineering, software learning and AI)and 4,000 from a new SGUnited MID-Career Traineeships scheme.
  • SGUnited Skills Programme – Training allowance of $1,200 per month for 30,000 eligible job seekers during the course of their training, starting from July 2020.

Hiring Incentive expanded

To encourage employers to hire local workers whom have gone through eligible traineeship and training schemes.

  • For eligible workers aged 40 years old & above – the incentive will be doubled to cover 40% of salary over 6 months, capped at $12,000 in total.
  • For eligible workers under 40 years old: the incentive will cover 20% of salary over 6 months, capped at $6,000 in total.

  • For Individuals/Households

Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme (SIRS)

  •  Over 100,000 self-employed persons will receive $3,000 this month
  • Self-employed persons who do not automatically qualify or have marginally missed the criteria can approach NTUC. Applicants can expect to hear from NTUC within a month upon submission of application.

Solidarity Utilities Credit

 One-time $100 credit for every household with at least 1 Singaporean, to be reflected in July or August bill.

   

   

See full summary of Fortitude Budget here.

 

On 21 April, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced that the Circuit Breaker will be extended to 1 June 2020 (inclusive) and have put in place enhanced circuit breaker measures minimally for a two-week period from 21 April 2020 until 4 May 2020 (inclusive). The Government will continue to support our people and businesses through the extended circuit breaker period, building on the measures introduced in the Unity, Resilience, and Solidarity Budgets since 18 February 2020. Details for new updates are below.

Jobs Support Scheme wage subsidy remains at 75% for all sectors for May 2020 (New)

In the Solidarity Budget announced earlier, the JSS was raised to provide 75% wage support on the first $4600 of gross monthly wages for local employees across all sectors for the month of April 2020.

  • 75% JSS will be extended across all sectors for another month, i.e. in the month of May 2020.
  • Payout for May 2020 will be disbursed by end-May 2020 for employers on PayNow or having existing GIRO arrangements with IRAS.
  • Other employers will start receiving their cheques in early-June.
  • Employers are encouraged to sign up for PayNow to receive their payouts faster.
  • Employers who put local employees on mandatory no-pay-leave or retrench them will not be entitled to the enhanced JSS payout for those employees.

JSS to cover shareholder-directors (New)

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) payout will be extended to cover wages of employees of a company who are also shareholders and directors of the company (shareholder-directors).

  • This support will only apply to companies that were registered on or before 20 April 2020, and for the wages of shareholder-directors with Assessable Income of $100,000 or less for Year of Assessment 2019.
  • The May 2020 payout will also include back-payment for companies with qualifying shareholder-directors whose wages were excluded from the first JSS payout in April 2020.

Foreign Worker Levy Waiver and Rebate extended by 1 month (New)
The Government will extend the Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) waiver and FWL rebate by one month, to ease labour costs of firms that employ foreign workers in this period. As with the initial introduction of the waiver and rebate, this assistance will support firms with workers who are unable to work due to the circuit breaker and/or Stay Home Notice (SHN) measures. Firms should use the assistance for their workers’ wages and subsistence needs. MOM will provide further details.

Previously Announced Support and Relief Measures Will Continue to Apply. For full details, please refer to the MOF press release here. Contact information for COVID-19-related support measures can be found here.

For businesses whom have submitted your request via COVID GoBusiness website to continue your e-commerce operations, you may now check the status of your application via the website.

1. Solidarity Budget 2020 (as announced on 6 April)

A third tranche of COVID-19 support measures has just been announced by DPM Heng Swee Keat and that includes additional cash payout and support for businesses and self-employed persons.

Meant to complement the measures introduced in Budget 2020 and Resilience Budget, this Solidarity Budget was introduced to protect jobs and livelihoods, support firms and workers, and help Singaporeans.

More details can be seen from the infographics below and kindly refer here for full Solidarity Budget.

Solidarity Budget Infographic 1

Solidarity Budget Infographic 2

Supporting businesses (Costs)

  • Job Support Scheme (JSS) to be further enhanced: All companies to get 75% wage subsidy for every local employee for April, capped at the first $4,600 of monthly wage. First payout brought forward to April 2020. 
  • Businesses can check their JSS eligibility on the IRAS website here.
  • Foreign worker levy due in April 2020 will be waived.
  • Companies will receive Foreign Worker Levy rebate of $750 for each work permit or S Pass
  • Ministry of Law will pass legislation to allow businesses and individuals defer certain contractual obligations, such as paying rent, repaying loans, or completing work, for a period. The bill will also mandate that property owners pass on the Property Tax Rebate in full to its tenants.  
  • Rental rebate for non-residential government-owned premises (used for industrial or office purposed etc.) will increase from 0.5 month to 1 month. 

 Support businesses (Credit)  

  • Government’s risk share for loans made under the Enterprise Financing Scheme, Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and Loan Insurance Scheme will increase from 80% to 90% for loans initiated from April 8, 2020 till March 31, 2021. 

 Support for self-employed persons (Cash) 

  • Self-employed Persons Income Relief (SIRS) will be extended to include self-employed persons who also earn a small income from employment work.  
  • Current annual value of property threshold to be raised from up to $13,000 to up to $21,000 and to include those who live in some condominiums and other private properties. 

 Support for households (Cash) 

  • All adult Singaporeans will receive a one-off Solidarity Payment of $600 in cash by mid-April 2020.   
  • Parents will receive an additional $300 payout for each child aged 20 and below 
  • A $100 top-up for PAssionCard will be given to Singaporeans aged 50 and above.  

2. Guidelines on suspension of workplace activities to reduce COVID-19 transmission

This is an update following PM Lee Hsien Loong’s address to the nation and press conference with the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on pre-empting the trend of increasing local transmission of COVID-19.

Suspension of activities at the workplace premises

With effect from 7 April 2020 till 4 May 2020 or furtherthere will be a suspension of activities at workplace premises. This is not a closure of businesses.

Entities which carry out activities listed in in Annex A in MTI’s release can continue to operate from their workplace premises, and this include “Online retail and related supply chains”, listed under “Others” in the list of essential services (page 11 of Annex A).

With the government’s announcement yesterday, all businesses (including essential services and retailers that intend to continue operating their e-commerce channel) MUST  submit their plans to operate with enhanced safe distancing measures in place at http://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg by end of 13 April 2020.

TaFF will be working closely with Enterprise Singapore to facilitate the dissemination of further critical information and also to expedite approval for our members. You may also submit details for your submission here or email Jeanne at jeannelee@taff.org.sg, and we will reach out directly to Enterprise Singapore for a response.

We urge members to join TaFF’s member Facebook group and Whatsapp to receive timely updates. Kindly email marketing@taff.org.sg to join the Whatsapp group.

Essential Services - COVID-19

Stay at Home - COVID-19

3. Government Resources – 2020 Resilience Budget

Outlined below are several schemes and grants that are applicable for your businesses from the recently announced Resilience Budget 2020.

Updates on reflected in For Businesses (Building Capabilities and Resilience), on E-Commerce Booster Package and IMDA’s Stay Healthy, Go Digital Programme.

  • Saving Jobs and Supporting Wages

S/N Scheme Mechanism Details
1 Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme & Wage Credit Scheme · Co-funding to 25% for first $4.6K for Singaporean/PR staff
· Co-funding period for 9 months till end-2020 
Application is not required. All active employers, with the exception of Government organisations (local and foreign) and representative offices, are eligible for the JSS
2 Enhanced Wage Credit (WCS)  Enhanced Wage Credit given by the Government Application is not required.All WCS payouts will be disbursed through GIRO or PayNow Corporate.
3 SGUnited Traineeship  Co Fund wage for traineeship for 1st time job seekers This programme will provide fresh graduates from ITE, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions with traineeship opportunities across various sector More details on the application process and eligibility criteria will be released by WSG in due course
4 SGUnited Jobs Initiative  Govt aims to create about 10,000 jobs over the next year  The first SGUnited Jobs Virtual Career Fair will run from 27 March 2020 to 12 April 2020, featuring more than 2,200 jobs. Interested jobseekers can access the VCF at SGUnitedJobs.gov.sg.
5 SEPs Income Relief Scheme  $1K monthly payout for the self-employed (up to 9 months) 

Singaporean SEPs who meet all of the following criteria are eligible for SIRS:
· Started work as an SEP on or before 25 March 2020;
· Do not also earn income as an employee;
· Earn a Net Trade Income of no more than $100,000;
· Live in a property with an annual value of no more than $13,000; and
· Do not own two or more properties.

Automatic payments for most eligible SEPs
Singaporean SEPs aged 37 and over in 2020 who declared positive SEP income to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) / CPF Board (CPFB) 1 for Work Year 2018 do not need to apply. Other eligible SEPs may apply for SIRS. More details on SIRS and the application process will be released at a later date. 

6 SEP Training Support Scheme  Hourly Training Allowance at $10/hr from 1 May 2020

Trainees can also tap their SkillsFuture Credit to further offset course fees. Singaporean SEPs who meet all of the following criteria are eligible for SIRS:
· Must be self-employed at the point of application
· Produce their consolidated statement of income for year of assessment 2020 submitted to IRAS in capacity of SEP

Before you enrol on courses, you are required to apply for a Letter of Eligibility. To apply, visit: www.e2i.com.sg/SEP2020 and key in your personal details followed by submission of supporting documents for Letter of Eligibility to SEP2020@e2i.com.sg. Successful applicants will be issued a copy of the Letter of Eligibility from NTUC’s e2i within 2 working days from submission. 

  • For Businesses (Building Capabilities and Resilience)

S/N Scheme Mechanism Details
1 SME Go Digital  Increase to 90% for Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) and 80% for Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). 

To qualify for the EDG, you need to:
· Be registered and operating in Singapore
· Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding
· Be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project

Applications will be assessed by Enterprise Singapore based on project scope, project outcomes and competency of service provider: Pre-application | Application

SMEs can apply for PSG if they meet the following criteria:
· Registered and operating in Singapore
· Purchase/lease/subscription of the IT solutions or equipment must be used in Singapore
· Have a minimum of 30% local shareholding (for selected solutions only): List of supportable solutions | Application 

2 Ecommerce Booster Package The E-Commerce Booster Package supports local retailers to bring your business online and diversify your sales channels and revenue streams beyond traditional brick-and-mortar. 

The E-Commerce Booster Package comprises the following:

1. E-commerce for domestic market
In partnership with Amazon, Lazada Singapore, Qoo10 and Shopee, the Singapore E-Commerce Programme supports local retailers, including heartland enterprises, to expand your reach in the domestic market.Supportable costs includes content development, product listing, fulfilment, channel management, advertising and promotionEligible local retailers will receive a one-time support to defray 90% of eligible costs (up to S$9000) for up to 6 months.

2. E-commerce for overseas markets
Retailers seeking to expand your reach overseas can apply for the Multichannel E-Commerce Platform (MEP) Programme. This enables retailers with little or no prior experience in exporting products overseas to do so using digital channels.Additional manpower support to kick-start your e-commerce journeyRetailers participating in the programmes can also apply for additional manpower support to drive your business’ e-commerce efforts. You will receive a one-time support of up to 90% of the qualifying manpower costs for three months.

3 IMDA’s Stay Health, Go Digital Programme A curated list of resources – including digital solutions, grants and training courses – that businesses can tap on to embrace digitalisation and overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19.  · For business continuity: Digital Solutions Directory
· Nationwide E-Invoicing
· Training/ Webinars to digitalise your business
4 Higher Course Fee Subsidies   Higher Course Fee Subsidies (to 90%) 

SMEs that meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
1. Registered or incorporated in Singapore
2. At least 30% local shareholding by Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents
3. Employment size of not more than 200 (at group level) or with annual sales turnover (at group level) of not more than $100 million
4. Trainees must be hired in accordance with the Employment Act and fully sponsored by their employers for the course
5. Trainees must be Singapore Citizens or Singapore Permanent Residents.

SMEs can submit applications and claims through the online SkillsConnect platform at www.skillsconnect.gov.sg. The application can be submitted up to 30 days before the course start date and no later than 30 days after the course start date.

  • For Businesses (Tax Rebates and Deferments to ease cash flow)

S/N Scheme Mechanism Details
1 Rental Waiver  Up to 2 month’s rental waiver For Tenants in Government-owned/Managed Non-Residential Facilities 
2 Enhanced Property Tax Rebate Enhanced Property Tax Rebate·       100% for qualified commercial properties·       60% for integrated resort·       30% for non-residential property  Non-residential properties will be granted property tax rebate for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020. Commercial properties badly affected by COVID-19 like hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants will receive a 100% rebate. Other non-residential properties such as offices and industrial properties will get a 30% rebate on their property tax payable. IRAS will send out the rebate notices by 31 May 2020. Property owners can expect to receive their refunds by 30 June 2020. 
3 Freezing of Govt Fee Charges Freeze all govt fee charges for 1 year From 1 April 2020 to 31st March 2021.
4 Deferment of Income Tax Deferment of income tax for 3 mths 

For companies
Automatic 3 Month deferment on CIT payments due in the months of April, May and June 2020 to July, August and September 2020 respectively. A letter from IRAS will be sent by 15 April 2020. Those on GIRO and have ongoing CIT payments due in April, May and June 2020 can view their revised instalment plans at myTax Portal in early May 2020. Companies who are not on GIRO and are required to make a one-time CIT payment in April, May and June 2020 can use the Corporate Tax Payment Deferment Calculator (28KB) to view the extended payment due date.

Self-employed
Automatic 3 months deferment of income tax payments due in May, June and July 2020 to August, September and October 2020 respectively.

For all employees
To apply for income tax deferment: https://form.gov.sg/#!/5d5ce149c0a8230012d27118 

  • For Businesses (Enhanced Financing Support)

S/N Scheme Mechanism Details
1 Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS)  Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) $5m-$10m with govt taking risk of 80% 

SMEs that meet all of the following eligibility criteria:
1. Be a business entity1 that is registered and physically present in Singapore
2. At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership
3. Maximum Borrower Group2 revenue cap of S$500 million for all enterprises
4. For “SME Working Capital”, the SME definition refers to Group revenue of up to S$100 million or maximum employment of 200 employees

Interested enterprises may approach any of the following Participating Financial Institutions to apply for the loan (subject to banks’ credit approval): List of Participating Financial Institutions.

4 EFS-SME Working Capital  EFS- SME working Capital $0.6-$1m
5 Loan Insurance Scheme  Loan Insurance Scheme

Companies applying for the LIS should meet the following criteria:
1. Be a business entity that is registered and physically present in Singapore, and
2. At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership, and
3. Group revenue of up to S$100 million or maximum employment of 200 employees.

Interested enterprises may approach any of the following Participating Financial Institutions (PFI) to apply for trade loan backed LIS: List of Participating Financial Institutions

6 Temporary Bridging Loan  Temporary Bridging Loan$1m-$5m

1. Be a business entity2 that is registered and physically present in Singapore
2. At least 30% local equity held directly or indirectly by Singaporean(s) and/or Singapore PR(s), determined by the ultimate individual ownership

2 ACRA registered Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Partnerships and Companies are eligible to apply for the Temporary Bridging Loan. Approval of the loan is subject to the PFI’s assessment.

Interested enterprises may approach any of the following Participating Financial Institutions to apply for the loan (subject to banks’ credit approval): List of Participating Financial Institutions

TaFF Resources

Complimentary Access to Hot-Desking and Zoom Facilities
TaFF members get to enjoy complimentary hot-desking and access to Zoom facilities at The Cocoon Space. 

  • Hot-desking at The Cocoon Space: 10 hours per month for the next 3 months
  • Zoom Facilities: 5 hours per company per month

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.

Email us on how to get your access today.

Digital Resources

Our Digital Resources initiative gives you access to cutting-edge informative digital platforms, and puts the tools of the trade right at your finger tips. As a TaFF Member, you will have special access to a wide variety of essential global resources that will help develop your design, grow your business, and scale internationally. 

Omnilytics

Get real-time competitor data from this global fashion analytics and insights software. With insights from over 100 million product SKUs across more than 75,000 brands and retailers, Omnilytics allows brands and retailers to analyse their market & competitor’s offerings so profitable opportunities are never missed.

All TaFF members can have access to the platform for FREE.
(u.p. US$60,000/company/year)

How to Access:
Request your access here. Access is given in renewable 12-hour blocks. Other terms and conditions apply.

BOF

An essential daily resource for fashion and design creatives, executives and entrepreneurs, Business of Fashion (BoF) is the leading authority on the global fashion industry. Join BoF Professional to get access to fashion business intelligence through a network of savvy writers and fashion insiders in style capitals across the world. 

How to Access:
To subscribe to BoF Professional with a group discount, please register here.

Fashion Resource List

The Fashion Resource List comprises a curated list of businesses, producers, vendors, designers, and experts from across the spectrum of the fashion valuechain, all of whom are interested in working with and supporting burgeoning local designers from Singapore and the greater Southeast Asian region.

TaFF used its position as a trade association to collectively partner with listed companies to provide opportunities, programs and collective discounts and special prices. These companies are listed as Star Listings on the Fashion Resource List.

Learn more here.

Alicia Tsi
Clara Yee

Esse the Label

Or find another post by Category:

Stay connected by following @taff.sg on Instagram

Stay updated with TaFF