SINGAPORE — Four cases of suspected abuse of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) are being investigated by the police, with 444 employers being denied of close to $10 million in JSS payouts.
In a media release on Friday, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) said that close to 2,200 employers have been selected for review for the July payout for the JSS, a scheme of wage subsidies aimed at helping employers retain local workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers under review would have their payouts withheld until they are able to submit supporting documents to IRAS to verify the authenticity and accuracy of mandatory CPF contributions made.
“Their payouts would be adjusted or denied if issues are found during the review, and egregious cases would be referred to the Police. This is part of IRAS’ anti-gaming efforts to ensure that JSS payouts are fairly and correctly disbursed.” IRAS said in the media release.
Unacceptable practices observed
As of end September, IRAS has received documents from and concluded the review of over 1,400 employers. Close to $10 million of JSS payouts to 444 employers have been denied either partially or fully.
Four cases were referred to the police, after IRAS found suspected abuse such as employers submitting false documents to substantiate their eligibility for the JSS.
Some of the other unacceptable practices observed include:
Employers placing employees on no-pay leave, cutting monthly wages, or retrenching them, but continuing their mandatory CPF contributions for the employees, so as to get more JSS payout than entitled to;
Employers making mandatory CPF contributions for non-genuine employees;
Employers asking employees to return a part of their monthly wage for the month in cash, but continuing their mandatory CPF contributions for the employees.
Reports from whistleblowers
IRAS said that close to 50 employers have voluntarily declared the incorrect mandatory CPF contributions that they have made for their employees. Their JSS payouts have been adjusted before disbursement.
The authority has also received over 300 reports from whistle blowers on employers suspected to have abused the JSS. It said that each report will be assessed thoroughly.
Those found to have abused the JSS are liable to be jailed up to 10 years and/or fined.
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