From 1 July 2020, the Workfare Skills Support (WSS) Scheme will replace the Workfare Training Support (WTS) Scheme, which was first introduced in 2010 and had benefitted over 270,000 Singaporeans to date. The introduction of the WSS Scheme is in line with Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) efforts to better help low wage workers (LWWs) upgrade their skills and boost their career mobility. The WSS Scheme will better enable LWWs to undertake training that leads to more impactful employment outcomes.
The WSS eligibility criteria will be aligned with those of the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme. This means raising the qualifying income cap from $2,000 to $2,300 per month and introducing additional eligibility criteria to channel our support to the more needy LWWs.
The enhancements include (i) increases in funding for Training Allowance (TA), from $4.50 to $6 per hour, to better recognise opportunity costs for self-sponsored trainees as incomes have risen over time, and (ii) raising the Training Commitment Award (TCA) for Full Qualifications (FQ) from $200 to $500. The annual TCA cap will also be increased from $400 to $1,000, as completion of FQs has led to higher wages for LWWs.
The TA is applicable to selected courses in sectors which have adopted the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), as well as outcome-based courses conducted by CET Centres appointed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). Eligible workers will receive the TCA after they have achieved the required certifications.
Employers who sponsor their LWWs for eligible training will continue to enjoy absentee payroll.
To qualify for the scheme, individuals must fulfil the following criteria:
- Singapore citizen
- Aged 35 years old or above on 31 December of the work year
- For Persons with Disabilities, the age criterion is 13 years old or above.
- Employed and earning a gross monthly income 1 of not more than $2,300 for the month worked 2; and
- Fulfils the WIS eligibility criteria of housing annual value (AV), property ownership and spousal income. The WIS criteria of housing AV, property ownership and spousal income are as follows:
- Lives in a property with an annual value of $13,000 3 or less assessed as at 31 December of the preceding year
- Owns less than two properties
- If the individual is married:
- The individual and his/her spouse own less than two properties together; or
- The assessable income of the individual’s spouse for the preceding Year of Assessment is $70,000 or less.
- If the individual is a Self-Employed Person, s/he must have also declared his/her net trade income for work done in the Work Year and made Medisave contributions.
Components under WSS Scheme
1. Absentee Payroll (AP) and Training Allowance (TA) 4
For employer-sponsored trainees: Their employers will be eligible for AP support at 95% of hourly basic salary.
- Only certifiable courses listed on the MySkillsFuture portal will qualify for AP.
- For employers to be eligible for AP, their sponsored trainees must pass their course with an attendance rate of at least 75%
For self-sponsored trainees (i.e. paying for their own training): They will receive TA of $6 per training hour.
- The TA applies only to outcome-based courses offered by CET centres appointed by SSG and selected courses in sectors which have adopted the PWM, as workers from these sectors have been identified as requiring more assistance in their training and upskilling, and to defray the opportunity cost involved when undergoing training.
- To qualify for TA, individuals must pass their course with a minimum attendance rate of 75%.
- Trainees under the WSS Scheme may claim up to 180 hours of TA during their WSS eligibility period.
2. Training Commitment Award (TCA) 4
To encourage sustained, productive training, TCA is a cash award given to eligible workers after achieving the required certifications:
a. $100 per 2 achievements of any of the following, capped at $200 during the trainee’s WSS Eligibility period
- a) WSQ Statement of Attainment
- b) Academic CET Modular Certificate or Post-Diploma Certificate
- c) Certifiable courses supported by SSG
b. $500 5 for achieving one WSQ Qualification or Academic CET Qualification.
There will be an overall TCA cap of $1,000 for the validity period stated in the WSS letter. Only certifiable courses listed on the MySkillsFuture portal would qualify for TCA. No application is required by the trainee.
Questions about Workfare Skills Support?If you have any enquiries on Workfare Skills Support, which WSS applicable courses are suitable for you and how you can apply, feel free to enquire.
1 Gross monthly income includes basic salary and additional wages such as overtime pay and bonuses.
2 In addition, you must earn an average gross monthly income of not more than $2,300 in the past 12 months.
3 Annual value is the estimated gross annual rent of the property if it were to be rented out, excluding furniture, furnishings and maintenance fees. It is determined based on estimated market rentals of similar or comparable properties.
4 Other terms and conditions apply e.g. employers and individuals must not be barred from receiving government funding.
5 Individual who is awarded $200 for achievement listed in a. and $500 for a 1st full qualification in b. will receive $300 for 2nd full qualification as TCA is capped at $1,000.