Singapore Government Set to Support Unemployed Workers: A Preview on the Expanded SkillsFuture Programme
Support for Unemployed Workers
Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, recently revealed plans for the government to provide financial support for involuntarily unemployed workers. The initiative is projected to be part of the expanded SkillsFuture programme, a comprehensive plan aimed at helping citizens enhance their skills and secure new employment opportunities. This move marks a shift in the government’s approach, which has historically been reluctant to offer such benefits, fearing it might deter individuals from actively seeking jobs.
Not an Insurance Scheme
The proposed benefits are not meant to work as an insurance scheme. Instead, the government plans to offer suitably sized benefits to unemployed workers to help them handle immediate financial difficulties. The support will also motivate workers to persist in their efforts to enhance their skills and job hunting, enabling them to recover more robustly from their unemployment.
Revised Stance in Light of Current Economic Climate
Lawrence Wong, who also serves as Finance Minister, underscored the necessity of implementing such benefits given the current economic circumstances. With increased change and churn in the economy, the government has reconsidered its stance on unemployment benefits.
Plans for Displaced Workers
Wong has previously discussed the support scheme for displaced workers on several occasions. In April, during a parliamentary debate, he acknowledged that the government was considering a targeted re-employment scheme. This scheme is likely to be part of the expanded SkillsFuture programme.
Addressing Inequality and Mobility Issues
The Deputy Prime Minister also highlighted the government’s strategies to tackle inequality and mobility issues, particularly considering external uncertainties and domestic constraints. These strategies include increasing investments in adult education and training, and addressing a growing “college wage premium”.
Part of Forward Singapore
These ideas are part of Forward Singapore, a nationwide engagement exercise spearheaded by the fourth-generation leadership team. The final report of this exercise is expected to be released soon, with the measures discussed by Wong acting as a sneak peek of its recommendations.
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