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COVID-19 grants and support for restaurants in Singapore

27 May 2020

By: Sarah Yap

Decoding Budget 2020: Jobs Support Scheme, Foreign Worker Levy, and financial assistance and support for restaurants.

While Singapore’s circuit breaker period has put an extra strain on the restaurant industry, the support available from the Singapore 2020 Budget has reassured F&B operators as they cope with the impact of COVID-19. In addition to that, the government has continued the stance that they are “ready to provide further support, should it become necessary”. 

We’ve selected the ones that provide relief to restaurants in two main areas: Subsidising staff salaries, and easing cashflow. The schemes listed here include the Jobs Support Scheme, the Waiver and Rebate on Foreign Worker Levy, the Senior Employment Credit, and more. Restaurants can expect these to be paid out and granted according to the timeline below. 

Note: This article has been updated with the additional support announced on with the Fortitude Budget on 27 May 2020.

Relief available for supporting staff salaries

1. Jobs Support Scheme

The largest sum of support your restaurant is likely to receive would be via the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS). Since the foodservice sector has been more severely hit than some other industries, the cash payout from this scheme is higher than most other industries.

job support scheme singapore restaurants chope

How much money will my restaurant receive via this scheme? 

Updated after the announcement of Fortitude Budget: The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) issues cash payouts to restaurants for 50% of the first $4,600 of wages for every local worker (Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) in employment for 8 months in 2020. Additionally, for the months of April and May, the scheme has been enhanced to issue payouts for 75% of the first $4,600 of wages for every local worker.

What do I need to do to receive the cash payout?

Application is not required. IRAS will notify eligible employers by post of the tier of support and the amount of JSS payout payable to them.

Additional notes and resources on the scheme:

Since the announced update on 21 April 2020, the Jobs Support Scheme payout has been extended to cover wages of employees of a company who are also shareholders and directors of the company with Assessable Income of $100,000 or less for Year of Assessment 2019.

Download the JSS calculator 

Check eligibility of your restaurant for JSS

2. Waiver and Rebate on Foreign Worker Levy (FWL)

If you have foreign workers in your restaurant staff, you will be entitled to a waiver of all Foreign Worker Levy for April and May and a 2-month rebate of levies paid in 2020. The cost of Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) ranges between $300 to $800 per staff monthly, depending on their skill level and your restaurant’s quota level.

Foreign Worker Levy waiver and rebate for restaurants

How much money will my restaurant receive via this scheme? 

The Foreign Worker Levy due in April and May will be waived. In addition, you will also receive a Foreign Worker Levy rebate of $1,500 for each work permit or S Pass holder you employ, based on previous levies paid in 2020.

When will I receive the cash payout?

The first Foreign Worker Levy rebate of $750 is scheduled to be paid in April 2020. 

What do I need to do to receive the cash payout?

No application is required. Employers will be informed once the rebate is successfully paid to them. In the meantime, employers can check their eligibility and the amount of rebate they will receive here.

3. Senior Employment Credit (SEC)

If you have staff at your restaurant that are aged 55 and above, the Senior Employment Credit (SEC) will provide wage offsets of up to 11% monthly to 31 December 2020. Introduced in 2011, this scheme was extended in 2016 and further extended in 2020 to support the employment of senior employees.

How much money does my restaurant receive via this scheme? 

The wage offsets amount between 3 – 11% varies on staff’s age and income bracket.

When will I receive the cash payout? 

September 2020.

Additional notes about the scheme:

More information about SEC can be found here.

Relief available for easing business cashflow

1. Rental waiver

The rental of your premises constitutes a significant proportion of your restaurant’s fixed costs. The support available on your rental costs will vary depending on whether or not your landlord is a government agency.

The following applies if your landlord is a government agency, such as the Housing Board and the National Arts Council:

How much money does my restaurant receive via this scheme?

You will receive a rental waiver of up to two months.

What do I need to do to receive the cash payout?

While a specific date has not been published, you are encouraged to engage your landlord to negotiate the timeline and arrangement of the rental waiver.  

The following applies if your restaurant is located within a commercially-owned property:

The government will not be able to offer a direct rental waiver to tenants of commercially-owned properties. However, relief on rental costs will and must be given through commercial landlords who will receive a property tax rebate of up to 100%. After months of petitioning, a new law will be passed under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill that will oblige commercial property owners to unconditionally pass on their property tax rebate in full to their tenants

Updated after the announcement of Fortitude Budget: With the additional cash grants to help SMEs with rental, qualifying tenants of commercial properties should in effect receive a total of 2 months worth of rental waivers.

How much money will my restaurant receive via this scheme?

Updated after Fortitude Budget: With the additional cash grants on top of property tax rebates to help SMEs with rental, qualifying tenants of commercial properties should in effect receive a total of 2 months worth of rental waivers. Additionally, a new bill will also be introduced that will legislate that landlords will have to contribute to rental waivers on top of government contributions. If the Bill is passed in Parliament, SME tenants in commercial properties who have suffered a significant revenue drop will benefit from a total of four months of rental relief – shared equally between the Government and landlords.

When will I receive the cash payout?

While the information on the proposed bill does not offer an exact date yet, it will state that the rebate has to be passed on in a timely manner with a prescribed timeline. The landlord is not allowed to impose any conditions.

What do I need to do to receive the cash payout?

While timelines have not been specified, you are encouraged to engage your landlord to negotiate the timeline and arrangement of the rental waiver. In the event of a dispute between the property owner and the tenant over the property tax rebate, the bill will allow a valuation review panel to adjudicate disputes. The panel will comprise members from the Valuation Review Board constituted under the Property Tax Act.

The 2nd edition of our white paper on the impact of COVID-19 on restaurants revealed that by the start of May 2020, 13% of restaurants had not received the initial rental rebates.

Additional notes about the scheme:

The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill will also ensure no termination of lease/license where non-payment of rent is due to COVID-19.

2. Pushback of income tax payments

If your restaurant company is due to pay income tax for FY2019 on profits, the date for payment of income tax has been pushed back by three months from April to July 2020. You should expect to hear more information from IRAS. For more information on Corporate Income Tax Rebates and other tax changes, click here

3. Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP)

The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) will provide you with relief to your cashflow with a loan quantum of up to $5 million and an interest rate capped at 5%. The Government will undertake a risk share of 90% for loans initiated from 8 April 2020 until 31 March 2021. Companies interested to apply can approach any of the Participating Financial Institutions.

Digital resilience bonus

An initiative that will start specifically with restaurants and the retail sector, the digital resilience bonus will payout up to $5,000 to will help businesses digitalise, with PayNow Corporate, e-invoicing, business process or e-commerce solutions. There will be an additional payout of $5,000 for businesses that use advanced solutions.

Food Delivery Booster Package 

With dine-in services suspended during this period, restaurants looking to food delivery as an alternative can look to the Food Delivery Booster Package offered by Enterprise Singapore. The package will fund 5% of commissions charged by selected delivery platforms including Chope On Delivery with no cap on the qualifying food delivery transaction value during the circuit breaker period of 7 April to 4 May 2020. Get in touch for more information about Chope On Delivery for your restaurant. 

 

This article will be updated should more information and relief be granted. Access our COVID-19 Resource Centre for restaurants, with guides, infographics, and advisories to equip you with managing and operating your restaurant.

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Sarah Yap

As Chope’s Product Marketing Manager, Sarah is excited to share about the opportunities that our technology unlocks to restaurants in Asia.

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