02 Apr 2020
Ref No.: 020420 (1)
Dear Valued ASPRI Members,
Overcoming COVID-19 Together: 3 Important Updates
1/3: EXPANSION OF TEMPORARY SCHEME TO HELP BUSINESSES MANAGE MANPOWER NEEDS
With prior approvals for work pass holders to enter Singapore being restricted to a very small number to reduce the risk of importation, MOM will be expanding a temporary scheme to help more firms hire workers who are already in Singapore. From 1 April 2020, the scheme will be expanded as follows:
A. Allow inter-sectoral transfer of foreign workers for all sectors: Firms in all sectors can hire existing WPHs (who are in Singapore) from other sectors, with the agreement of their current employers. This relaxes the current rule that only allows transfers within the respective sectors.
B. Allow transfers of foreign workers whose work permits are nearing expiry for all sectors: Firms in all sectors can hire existing WPHs from their own or another sector, where the work permits are within 40 days of expiry. This is an extension of a scheme that exists for the construction and process sectors for transfers within their own sectors. Agreement from the current employer is not needed.
The hiring firms will be required to meet prevailing criteria under their respective sectors. This temporary scheme will be in place for five months until 31 August 2020.
For transfers of Work Permit holders from 40 days before work permit expiry (including inter-sectoral transfers), firms can submit their request online.
For full press release, please visit: https://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2020/0401-expansion-of-temporary-scheme-to-help-businesses-manage-manpower-needs
2/3: TEMPORARY RELIEF FOR INABILITY TO PERFORM CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS DUE TO COVID-19 SITUATION
The Ministry of Law has just announced its intention to introduce the “COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill”. The Bill will enable companies’ whose businesses have been adversely affected by Covid-19 to seek relief from fulfilling their contractual obligations such as paying rent, paying instalments on bank loans, fulfilling their construction contracts, etc for a period of six months.
The Bill will cover the following categories of contracts:
a) Leases or licences for non-residential immovable property (e.g. lease for factory premises);
b) Construction contract or supply contract (e.g. contract for the supply of materials);
c) Contracts for the provision of goods and services (e.g. venue, catering) for events (e.g. weddings, business meetings);
d) Certain contracts for goods or services for visitors to Singapore or outbound tourists, or promotion of tourism (e.g. cruises, hotel accommodation bookings); and
e) Certain loan facilities granted by a bank or a finance company to SMEs.
The measures will cover relevant contractual obligations that are to be performed on or after 1 February, for contracts that were entered into or renewed before 25 March.
3/3: STAY IN, STAY OPEN. GO DIGITAL.
Many of our local businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. But in the latest Resilience Budget announced by DPM Heng, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), together with Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the industry, is launching a number of measures and providing grant support to help firms address urgent COVID-19 challenges.
Together with ESG, IMDA will be enhancing the SMEs Go Digital programme through:
i) Expanding the scope of PSG-supported pre-approved solutions to include remote working and visitor management;
ii) Increasing PSG support from a maximum of 70% to 80%; and
iii) Advanced Digital Solutions where businesses can enjoy up to 80% co-funding support to adopt more advanced solutions to deepen their capabilities.
IMDA will also set aside $10 million to help businesses to build strong foundations for digitalising business processes, such as e-invoicing, in the long term.
To help businesses “Stay Healthy, Go Digital”, IMDA has also put together a resource page for businesses, with a Digital Solutions Directory on relevant solutions that help businesses implement business continuity measures. This directory is jointly curated by IMDA and SGTech, by the industry, for the industry. There are solutions with limited time offers, free solutions, and those supported by government grants.
More details at www.imda.gov.sg/BizGoDigital!