Singapore: Update on circuit breaker – Summary for businesses


published on 22 April 2020 | reading approx. time 2 minutes


On 21 April 2020, the Singapore Prime Minister has addressed the nation to update on the current Covid-19 situation in Singapore. In his statement, the Prime Minister announced further measures to deal with the Covid-19 situation in Singapore. These measures were then further explained within the following press conference of the Multi-Ministry Task Force. Please find in the following a brief summary of the measures which might impact businesses:



1. Extension of the circuit breaker period

The circuit breaker period (“CB Period”), which was initially scheduled from 7 April to 4 May 2020 (both dates included), will be extended until 1 June 2020. During the CB Period several restrictions apply to individuals as well as business as stipulated under the control orders issued by the Minister of Health under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020.


2. Tightening the list of essential services

With effect from 21 April 2020, the list of essential services and measures for workplaces have been tightened. Under these amended rules, more businesses have to suspend operations, such as certain food and beverage outlets, hairdressers or retail laundry services. The Ministry of Trade and Industry will notify business which have to suspend operations. In particular, customer-facing businesses are affected by these rules.

Furthermore, additional safeguards against community transmission have been introduced, such as temperature screening in certain popular areas or entry restrictions into those areas.

These tightening measures will be effective until at least 4 May 2020.


3. Financial support for businesses

During the press conference of the Multi-Ministry Task Force, further changes concerning the financial support of business have been announced by the Minister of Finance. In this section, we would like to highlight the main amendments to the existing stimulus packages:


a. Job Support Scheme (JSS)

The enhanced JSS for April, under which the Singaporean government will pay 75 per cent on the first SGD 4,600 salary for local employees (i.e. Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents), will be extended to May 2020. The support under the JSS for the further months remains unchanged.


In this regards it should be highlighted that business which are placing their employees under a no-pay-leave or exercise retrenchment are not entitled for the JSS.


A further change in the JSS has been made concerning its coverage. The JSS will now also cover salaries of employees who are also shareholders and directors of a company. This change will only apply to companies which have been registered on or before 20 April 2020 and applies for salaries of shareholder and directors with an assessable income of SGD 100,000 or less for year of assessment 2019.


The pay-out of the JSS for the period October 2019 to December 2019 will occur in April 2020. An additional pay-out will be made in May 2020 for the JSS for May. The pay-out for February to April 2020 will be done in July 2020. A final pay-out is expected in October 2020.


Businesses do not need to apply for the JSS. The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore will notify businesses on the JSS by post. Businesses are advised to check incoming mail. In case no notification has been received, businesses should assess their eligibility for the JSS.


b. Waiver of Foreign Worker Levy

The waiver of the monthly foreign worker levy for April 2020 and the foreign worker levy rebate of SGD 750 for levies paid in 2020 for each Work Permit or S-Pass holder will be extended by one month.

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