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Parliamentary Replies

Eligibility of Nightlife Businesses Pivoting to Other Industries for Jobs Support Scheme and Funds Disbursed

03 Aug 2021

Parliamentary Question by Mr Yip Hon Weng:

To ask the Minister for Finance (a) whether nightlife businesses that pivot to other industries qualify for the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS); (b) how does the Ministry verify the number of eligible workers employed at these businesses; and (c) should nightlife businesses that engage in illegal activities receive grants and payments under COVID-19 assistance schemes, whether these amounts will be rescinded and the owners made to return what they have received.

Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong:

The objective of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) is to support employers to retain their local workers. Businesses are eligible for JSS so long as they meet the JSS eligibility criteria (like being classified under the relevant SSIC codes) and pay wages and CPF contributions to bona fide local employees. This includes the pivoted nightlife establishments.

To ensure that the JSS is paid out to bona fide employees, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), as the administrator of the JSS, has instituted a robust antigaming framework to detect phantom employees. Leveraging data from multiple sources, IRAS will identify cases which could indicate fraudulent or dishonest CPF contributions. Identified firms would have to make declarations, and IRAS may conduct further checks before the payouts are released. Where warranted, JSS will be denied and egregious cases will be reported to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for further investigation and prosecution.

Generally, we will not claw back JSS from a company solely on account of breaches of safe management measures. However, we will take tougher action against firms convicted of criminal activities. Any such firm will have its prior payouts clawed back for the period when it was engaging in criminal activities and future payouts denied.

For firms that are undergoing police investigations for criminal activities, we will withhold their future JSS payouts (if any), as well as payouts for other COVID-19 assistance measures, such as the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI), pending outcome of these investigations.