Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) – The Complete Guide (2022)

SingSaver team

SingSaver team

Last updated 17 March, 2022

How does the Jobs Growth Incentive work? What are its benefits and drawbacks? 

The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) was announced on 17 August 2020 and aims to encourage companies to employ more locals by providing them with wage assistance. 

What is JGI and how does it work?

JGI is an incentive programme that offers employers wage subsidies for new recruits hired from September 2020 onwards. It was introduced as a response to the pandemic, to support the hiring of locals. There have been three phases so far, with the latest phase running from October 2021 to March 2022. The amount of salary incentive offered by the government is determined by the number of employees you have hired and their age at the time of hire.

In the third stage of the JGI which runs from October 2021 to March 2022, employers will be able to receive up to 15% of the first S$5,000 of gross monthly wages for a non-mature (below 40 years old) hire for 6 months. Employers who hire mature people, persons with disabilities (PwDs), or ex-offenders will receive 50% of the first S$6,000 of gross monthly wages, for up to 12 months. 

To qualify for the third phase of the programme, employers will need to have increased their overall workforce from the last headcount in September 2021. Apart from that they should also have increased the total number of local employees earning a gross of S$1,400 per month.

The goal is to entice firms thinking of hiring or expanding to do so because they will be eligible for salary assistance via the JGI. The scheme allows Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs) to access salary support, with the aim of creating jobs and supporting businesses in Singapore.

The salary subsidy across the three phases is reflected in the table below. 

Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3
Qualifying windowLocal hires from Sep 2020 to Feb 2021Local hires from Mar 2021 to Sep 2021Local hires from Oct 2021 to Mar 2022
Non-matureUp to 25% of first S$5,000 for 12 monthsUp to 25% of first S$5,000 for 12 monthsUp to 15% of first S$5,000 for 6 months
Mature workers,  PwDs and ex-offendersUp to 50% of first S$5,000 for Sep 2020 to Feb 2021 
Up to 50% of first S$6,000 from Mar 2021 onwards 
Support for 18 months
Up to 50% of first S$6,000 for 18 monthsUp to 50% of first S$6,000 for 12 months

JGI eligibility criteria for employers

To prevent employers from manipulating the system, the government has set certain requirements that must be met in order for companies to qualify for the JGI. These requirements are as follows:

Condition 1: There must be an increase in the number of Singapore Citizen or PR employees. This includes part-timers. 

Condition 2: There must be an increase in local employees earning minimum monthly gross wages of S$1,400.

To qualify for phase 3, employers must have been established on or before 23 September 2021. 

If a company hires one local employee and loses another, the loss of one employee will affect its eligibility. This is because it did not fulfil the first requirement of the incentive scheme.   

However, if the company hires two local employees without losing the existing ones, it will receive the JGI for the new employees as long as the gross wage of at least one of the new workers hits S$1,400 and above per month.

In order to receive the JGI for the full payout duration, the employer has to qualify during the respective phase and continue to meet the eligibility criteria for the payout period.  

JGI adjustments to promote retention of existing employees

In order to encourage employers to retain existing local employees, the JGI payouts will be reduced if any current local workers (who were employed by the employer just before the qualifying window), leave the firm after the window starts. For phase 3, the adjustment will happen if any locals employed as of September 2021, leave after that month. 

The adjustment factor is determined by dividing the number of existing local staff who have departed the company by the total number of the present employees as of September 2021 (for phase 3), or 5%, whichever is higher. As a result, if more current local workers leave the firm, the adjustment factor will be greater. 

However, if new local hires leave the firm, this will not affect the adjustment factor. Any JGI associated with the new hires will simply cease. 

In other words, If a small business with five local workers (as of September 2021) loses one of its existing employees, the JGI payment will be cut by 20%. If two of the company's current staff depart, the payout will be dinged by 40%.

Thus, it is important for businesses to understand the implications of losing existing employees during this period. This may have a bigger impact on smaller businesses because each existing local employee contributes a larger percentage of their current baseline headcount.

Application for JGI 

Eligible firms do not need to apply for the JGI payouts. The employers' CPF contributions to their workers will be used to calculate the payments automatically every month.

How the government is preventing abuse of JGI

Abuse of the scheme is being taken seriously by the government. If companies are found to be abusing the JGI programme, their payouts may be withheld and they might be charged, facing up to 10 years in jail and a fine.

Unacceptable behaviours include:

  • Firing or laying off existing staff and subsequently employing new individuals.
  • Splitting up employees' pay among a number of affiliated businesses.
  • Increasing purported CPF contributions for staff who have not actually received a pay rise.
  • Making fraudulent CPF contributions for non-genuine employees.
  • Inflating required CPF contributions and deducting these extra funds from workers' earnings in cash.
  • Maintaining CPF contributions based on past salaries for workers who have had their wages reduced.

JGI payout schedule

Eligible employers have been receiving payouts since March 2021. If they qualify for the third phase, payouts will persist till June 2023. 

Qualifying window of new local hires Month where CPF contributions for new local hires is madeMonth when JGI payout will be disbursed
Payout 1
Phase 1September 2020March 2021
October 2020March 2021
November 2020March 2021
Payout 2
Phase 1December 2020June 2021
January 2021June 2021
February 2021June 2021
Payout 3
Phase 1 and 2March 2021September 2021
April 2021September 2021
May 2021September 2021
Payout 4
Phase 1 and 2June 2021December 2021
July 2021December 2021
August 2021December 2021
Payout 5
Phase 1, 2 and 3September 2021March 2022
October 2021March 2022
November 2021March 2022
Payout 6
Phase 1, 2 and 3December 2021June 2022
January 2022June 2022
February 2022June 2022
Payout 7
Phase 1, 2 and 3March 2022September 2022
April 2022September 2022
May 2022September 2022
Payout 8
Phase 1, 2 and 3June 2022December 2022
July 2022December 2022
August 2022December 2022
Payout 9
Phase 2 and 3September 2022March 2023
October 2022March 2023
November 2022March 2023
Payout 10
Phase 2 and 3December 2022June 2023
January 2023June 2023
February 2023June 2023

In conclusion, the JGI is intended to reward companies for hiring Singapore Citizens and PRs as their first priority, and for retaining existing local employees. The criteria ensure that employers will be rewarded with wage assistance if they truly bring on new staff and do not abuse or exploit loopholes in the scheme.

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Read these next:

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What Is The Median Salary in Singapore And Are You Earning Enough?
Are You Self-Employed? This Is How You Can Save Your Way To Success
A Comprehensive Guide To Starting Salaries for Fresh Graduates In Singapore

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