Singapore enhances workforce inclusion and training support
To provide employees with better employment and earning prospects, Singapore will be introducing job-skills integrators, who, in their capacity as “labour market intermediaries”, will work with industry, training and employment facilitation partners to optimise training and job replacement.
Existing institutions can serve as integrators but will have new responsibilities to deliver. For instance, the jobs-skills integrators will engage enterprises to understand the manpower and skills gap in the industry, and work with training providers to update existing training programmes or develop new ones that will close the skills gap.
These integrators will also work with employment facilitation agencies to identify individuals with the right aptitude and fit for training, said Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Singapore.
In delivering Singapore’s Budget 2023, Wong also announced the extension of the Senior Employment Credit, which provides wage offsets to employers hiring Singaporean employees aged 55 and above, to 2025. The wage offset applies to employees earning below S$4,000 (US$3,010) per month. Additionally, the Part-time Re-employment Grant will also be extended until 2025 to encourage employers to offer part-time re-employment, flexible work arrangements, and structured career planning to senior employees.
To support employers hiring people with disabilities, the Enabling Employment Credit will be enhanced to cover a more significant proportion of wages and a longer duration for these employees. Employers of Singaporeans with disabilities earning below S$4,000 per month will receive 20% of each eligible employee’s monthly income.
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Wong also revealed that government-paid paternity leave will be doubled from two to four weeks for fathers of Singaporean children born from 1 January 2024.
The government will reimburse employers who voluntarily grant the additional two weeks of leave, which is expected to be made mandatory in the future.
Additionally, unpaid infant care leave, which can be taken in the child’s first two years, will be doubled from six days to 12 days per parent per year from 2024. This will be eligible for parents with Singaporean children aged under two, and employers must grant the additional time off if employees have worked for the organisation for at least three continuous months.