Singapore’s Social Policy Response to Covid-19: Focusing on Jobs and Employment

As a major hub for global trade and travel, Singapore was badly affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic. However, the city-state has since managed to curb local transmission of the coronavirus and return employment levels to pre-pandemic levels. These positive outcomes are a result of Singapore’s social policy response to Covid-19. In this report, I highlight the range of labour market interventions that were implemented to maintain employment and blunt the economic impacts of the pandemic. These include a Jobs Support Scheme that subsidised a significant portion of the resident wage bill for firms and employers, a Self-Employed Income Relief Scheme to support self-employed persons, and a Covid-19 Support Grant to help those who were laid off from their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. A range of cash pay-outs and subsidies were also provided to households and citizens while subsidies and grants were introduced to support retraining and education in the Singaporean workforce. In sum, Singapore’s social policy response to Covid-19 has focused on maintaining employment and self-sufficiency among its resident population, with financial support provided to the poor and unemployed.