What kind of support or “ang bao” do workers get from Budget 2024?


Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong has delivered the Budget 2024 statement in Parliament today.

In case you were too busy celebrating Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, or busy gambling with your friends and family at Chinese New Year gatherings, here’s a summary of what workers can look forward to in Budget 2024!

Last year, Uncle Wong announced many key benefits for workers in Budget 2023, this year also buay pai (not bad) lah.

And it looks like the Gahmen really got give NTUC serviette (面子) by really implementing what they recommended in their #EveryWorkerMatters Conversation Report.

Labour chief Ng Chee Meng must be also feeling jin shiok now because DPM Lawrence Wong got name drop NTUC in his speech. You see his Facebook post below:

1. SkillsFuture Top-Up for mid-career workers

Singaporeans aged 40 and above will receive a top-up of SkillsFuture credits worth S$4,000 in May this year. If you haven’t turn 40 year old, don’t worry ok you will get it when you turn 40.

This $4,000 can only be used for selected training programmes. In other words, you can only use the credits to take courses that will help you enhance your employability. Cannot use to learn how to bake cake ah – unless you want to open cake shop bah.

For Singaporeans aged 40 and above who would like to pursue another full-time diploma at the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), gong xi gong xi, from academic year 2025, Gahmen will give you subsidies to do so!

The Gahmen will also provide a monthly training allowance for people who take full-time courses, so you no need to worry about not having any income while you study.

The training allowance will be equivalent to 50% of your average income over the latest 12-month period, capped at $3,000 per month. In addition, each individual can receive up to 24 months of training allowance throughout their lifetime.

Not bad wor!

2. More support for ITE graduates to help them transit into workforce

DPM Lawrence Wong announced in his Budget 2024 speech that the Gahmen will introduce a new award called the ITE Progression Award to encourage and support more young ITE graduates in their upskilling efforts. This ITE Progression Award got two parts.

The first part gives ITE graduates a $5,000 top-up to their post-secondary education accounts when they enrol in a diploma programme.

In the second part, when students attain their diplomas, they will get a further $10,000 top-up to their CPF Ordinary Accounts. This award will then help them save for retirement or buy a home.

This new announcement is aligned with what NTUC has called for after it had its year-long engagements with youths through its Youth Taskforce (YTF) to better understand the concerns and aspirations of youths/young workers.

3. Temporary Financial Support for retrenched workers

Lai lai come clap for Patrick Tay Ge Ge! Really GDLL for him leh. After pushing for unemployment support in Parliament for so many years, his dream finally came true sia.

In his Budget 2024 speech, DPM Lawrence Wong said that the Gahmen will introduce a temporary financial support scheme for those who are involuntarily unemployed while they undergo training or look for jobs that are a better fit.

He also added that this scheme will need to be designed “carefully”, to avoid the pitfalls that other countries experienced when they introduced unemployment benefits.

More details on this will be announced later this year.

Labour MP Patrick Tay
Labour MP Patrick Tay

In case you don’t know who Patrick Tay Ge Ge is, this is him ya.

He is the Member of Parliament of Pioneer SMC and Assistant Secretary-General at the National Trades Union Congress.

4. Enhancement to the Workfare Income Supplement scheme

To continue to uplift the lower-wage workers and make sure that they are not left behind as the Nation continues to progress, DPM Lawrence Wong announced in his Budget speech that the qualifying income cap for the Workfare Income Supplement scheme will be raised from $2,500 to $3,000.

The Workfare payouts will also be raised. Lower-wage senior workers will qualify for a maximum annual payout of $4,900, up from $4,200.

During the National Day Rally 2021, PM Lee announced that companies that are hiring foreign workers will be mandated to pay ALL their local workers a lowest qualifying salary (LQS) so as to strengthen the Singaporean core in the workforce and to ensure that local workers are better protected.

This amount will be raised from $1,400 to $1,600 from this year, said DPM Lawrence Wong. The minimum hourly rate will also be increased from $9 to $10.50.

Two years ago, the government introduced the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme to co-fund wage increases for lower-wage workers. The Finance Minister announced in his speech that the co-funding levels will be increased from a maximum of 30% to 50%. Additionally, the wage ceiling for the scheme will be raised from $2,500 to $3,000 in 2025.

5. More financial support for Older Workers to help them when they retire

In line with the recommendations from the Tripartite Workgroup on Older Workers, which consists of representatives from the Government, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and NTUC, DPM Lawrence Wong said that in 2025, there will be additional support for older workers.

Firstly, the CPF contribution rates for those aged 55 to 65 will be raised by an additional 1.5 percentage points.

The Enhanced Retirement Sum will also be raised from 2025. This is the maximum amount that members can put into their CPF Retirement Accounts to receive CPF payouts.

Currently, the Enhanced Retirement Sum is 3 times the Basic Retirement Sum. For 2024, the Basic Retirement Sum is $102,900, while the Enhanced Retirement Sum is $308,700. From 2025, the Enhanced Retirement Sum will be increased to 4 times the Basic Retirement Sum. That means the Enhanced Retirement Sum in 2025 will be $426,000.

This will help them to save more money in their CPF account which they will need the money when they retire. Huat ah!

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