by OrangeTee & Tie Pte Ltd.

Broad support for government’s income relief scheme, but some agents still fall through the cracks

Government Policies

April 2020

Singapore, 03 Apr 2020

As part of efforts to support Singaporeans during Covid-19 and the looming recession, the Government has rolled out schemes to help self-employed persons (SEPs). This includes a majority of real estate agents who are anticipating tougher times having recently seen reduced sales opportunities due to the ongoing situation. 

The Government has committed more than $48 billion to deal with the economic repercussions overall. While the SEP Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), in particular, has been allocated S$1.2 billion. This translates to 3 quarterly cash payouts of $3000 each for eligible SEPs.

Steven Tan, managing director of OTT, says that agents have been facing uncertainty in terms of their income amid growing pandemic concerns, stricter safe-distancing measures, and infection fears. Assurance in their ability to receive an income and provide for their families is therefore shaken, he says.
But while SIRS is helpful, Tan says the monthly payments “cannot cover the monthly marketing budgets of most real estate agents”. This is because most agents are still marketing properties but the cash payout — which translates to $1,000 over nine months — is not enough to cover their marketing budgets.
Still, Tan acknowledges that it is a “tricky time for the government, and there is definitely a need to put limits [on the income relief scheme] and set a threshold for qualified self-employed persons.”

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