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News Recap

News Recap – 15 Aug to 21 Aug

21 Aug 2020

1. Johor Bus Services to Take RGL, PCA Travellers Across the Causeway to Woodlands

Free bus services provided by the Johor Public Transport Corporation (PAJ) to ferry travellers across the Causeway under the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) schemes were allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the Woodlands checkpoint in Singapore from Thursday (Aug 20).    

State Public Works, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri said this was the result of an agreement between the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ) at the Sultan Iskandar Building and Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).  

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2. Malaysians or Malaysia PRs with a Valid Work Pass can Now Enter Singapore under the New PCA

Starting from August 17, if you employ work pass holders who are Malaysians or Malaysia permanent residents (PRs) and who enter Singapore by land, you can now bring them in under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) scheme. This is according to the Ministry of Manpower's latest update of the advisory for employers and employees travelling to and from COVID-19 affected areas.      

Under the PCA scheme, Malaysians or Malaysia PRs with valid Singapore work passes should remain in Singapore for at least 90 days before returning to Malaysia for home leave.      

The advisory stated that all other pass holders, including those on in-principle approval (IPA), Dependant’s Pass, Long Term Visit Pass and Letter of Consent (LOC), must continue to obtain MOM’s entry approval to enter Singapore.  

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3. COVID-19 Accelerates Digitalisation, Transformation for Some Businesses 

The COVID-19 outbreak may have put the brakes on expansion plans for many companies in Singapore, but it has also pushed some into digitalising and transforming their businesses. F&B giant BreadTalk Group is among the firms taking a different approach. Brandon Tanoto with more.

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4. Coronavirus Gut Check: How Small Businesses are Surviving

It’s been a trial by fire for small-business owners trying to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We walked into 2020 with a plan that we made in 2019 and then COVID-19 gut-checked us. Surprise!”. The CEO of Black upStart, Kezia Williams, said in the latest episode of #Next20, a new Verizon series about the issues that will define the next 20 years.  

Entrepreneurs on inadequate budgets who have managed to keep their businesses open during the pandemic have had to rip up their business plans, dismissal of workers, pivot, renegotiate leases, reduce traffic at their shops for safety reasons, try to rehire fewer employees, and develop new products to sell – all while maintaining cash flow in an environment where many consumers are cash-strapped and unemployed.  

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5. COVID-19 Crisis may Widen Income Gap in Singapore: Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) Reports

While the Singapore government has ramped up efforts to save jobs amid the pandemic, the full impact on income is "far deeper and broad-based" than current economic numbers would suggest, with low-income earners bearing the impact of the prolonged slump, fresh data from DBS showed.  

Against this setting, the pandemic is a "highly regressive" event which could possibly widen the income gap in Singapore, said DBS senior economist Irvin Seah at a media briefing on Tuesday.  

As at May this year, more than 300,000 – or 26 per cent – of 1.2 million DBS customers have experienced a decline in income by more than 10 per cent. Among these affected customers, about a third suffered even sharper income deterioration in excess of 50 per cent, according to the bank's recent report on financial wellness.  

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6. New Initiative by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Allows SMEs to Seamlessly Prepare, File Returns

SMEs can now automate the preparation and filing of their statutory returns with IRAS and ACRA using dedicated accounting software, the agencies said in a joint statement on Thursday, 20 August 2020.      

IRAS and ACRA have partnered accounting software providers to incorporate regulatory filing requirements into providers' software, which will automatically generate the required returns for companies with simple tax affairs and accounting transactions.  

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7. S$8 Billion Added to Singapore's COVID-19 Support Fund: What HR and Employers Should Note

The Singapore Government will be funding an additional S$8 billion worth of COVID-19 support measures, the Ministry of Finance announced on 17 August 2020.    

In Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s ministerial statement, he has noted that residents and workers have been sharing their concerns on job security and loss of income, while Business and union leaders have also spoken about their efforts to retain workers and help them upskill or retrain.    

3 core areas the Government is working towards to:  

  • Continued support for jobs, and creating new ones;
  • Providing further support for sectors which have been hit the hardest;
  • Providing further support for sectors which have been hit the hardest Positioning Singapore to seize growth opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world  

 

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8. Your 5-minute Guide to Outsourcing Payroll Processes

From Excel sheets to employee self-service. From a back-end office function to becoming more visible. Payroll has come a long way, but has a longer way to go especially in times of pandemic when time and budgets are tight, affirms Aileen Ng, Regional Lead for HR and Payroll in APAC, TMF Group, in this exclusive interview with Human Resources Online.  

Payroll in Singapore was always seen as an outdated back-end function, with very little attention paid to it as long as employees were getting paid for their work done. This was up until recent years, with the push for more digital practices and online interaction with agencies such as Central Provident Fund (CPF) and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS), supported by government funding of software for SME employers. What also helped the evolution of payroll is the increasing expectations of the new generation in understanding their payroll clearly and easily.   

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9. Singapore's 2020 Salary Outlook for HR, Accounting & Finance, and More

Kelly Services' 2020 Singapore Salary Guide, developed in collaboration with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), summaries what professionals across functions – including Chief Financial Officers, regional HR Managers, and more positions can expect to take home this year. The functions that are covered are:  

  1. Human Resources;
  2. Accounting & Finance;
  3. Sales & Marketing;  
  4. Procurement;
  5. Office Support;
  6. Customer Service   

 

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10. What to Consider When Recruiting Amid COVID-19 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the recruitment market in Singapore?    

Callam Pickering, APAC economist at Indeed mentioned that while hiring seems to be showing improvement in most countries, it “hasn’t been the case” in Singapore.    

“The impact of COVID-19 has been different here, owing partly to an initial containment of the spread, which delayed the hiring impact,” said Pickering, who's holding an upcoming webinar on the pandemic's impact on Singapore's labour market.  

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