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Ex-Gratia Payment for Employed & Self-Employed Persons on Home Quarantine Orders, and Employees of Small Businesses Ordered to Shut

29 Apr 2003

1 Employed and self-employed persons on Home Quarantine Order (HQO) due to SARS will receive an ex-gratia payment of up to $70 a day for the duration of the quarantine. Persons who are not on HQO, but who work in the small business establishments that have been ordered to shut for a few days on account of SARS and have suffered a consequent loss will also receive this payment. All persons who break their HQO will not qualify.

2 DPM and Minister for Finance Lee Hsien Loong announced the HQO Allowance Scheme in Parliament on 24 April 2003. With this Scheme, the government will be bearing a good part of the wage cost of employees affected by HQO and closure orders.

3 The Community Development Councils (CDCs) will administer the Scheme. Payments will be to the employers. The Scheme is open also to past and existing HQO cases and businesses ordered to close by the government on account of SARS. The CDCs will start sending out application forms to eligible persons and businesses from Wednesday 30 April 2003.

4 The Allowance for each employed person will be his daily salary for the duration of the quarantine, up to a maximum of $70 per day. For self-employed persons, the Allowance will be a flat $70 per day. The Allowance is not taxable and will not attract CPF contributions.

5 The Allowance for employees will be paid to their employers. Employers will then make the appropriate adjustments with their employees, depending on whether they have been paying their employees during the quarantine period.

6 Self-employed persons will get an upfront payment of $350 when the HQO is served on them, as they will not be able to work and earn income during the quarantine period. The remainder of the Allowance will be paid to them after the quarantine period.

7 Persons on HQO who can carry on with their work even when on HQO will not qualify for the Allowance. These are persons whose normal place of work is in the home.

8 Persons on HQO who break the home quarantine will not be eligible for the Allowance for the whole period of the quarantine.

9 Persons who are not on HQO, but who work at the small business establishments which have been ordered to shut by the government will also receive this Allowance, provided that the small business establishments have suffered a consequent loss. The small business establishments qualifying for the Scheme are those with not more than 50 workers in total (including those who are employed part-time, or paid on an hourly or daily basis). This covers more than 90% of all business establishments.

10 The Scheme is open to all previous and existing persons on HQO, and those in the qualifying small business establishments who are not on HQO. The stalls at the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre can apply retrospectively for the Allowance for their employees.

11 The Scheme will not apply to new workers from SARS-affected countries who have to be quarantined when they first enter Singapore, as the quarantine is a condition for subsequent issue of the WPs and EPs to them.

12 Eligible persons and small businesses are advised to wait for their CDC to get in touch with them with the form for applying for the Allowance.

13 Persons from lower income families who need further financial help on top of the HQO Allowance can continue to seek assistance from the CDCs.


Previous and existing persons on HQO as at 28 April 2003: 4,649

Average number of people served HQO per day: 150

Estimated amount incurred by government under the Scheme: $3,300,000