Earlier this year, it was predicted that the Covid-19 pandemic could lead to 150,000 to 200,000 retrenchments. This will be the highest number of retrenchments in Singapore’s history since independence. So far, retrenchments have more than doubled in the second quarter of this year. While these statistics can be discomforting, the comforting fact is how being retrenched is getting less and less stigmatised due to the unfortunate economic climate. Singapore Human Resources Institute president Low Peck Kem summed it up well: “It is never the worker’s fault, it is not even the company’s fault, it is Covid-19’s fault.” 

So if you have gotten retrenched, make sure you first check your rights. Then, don’t fret. Employers are becoming more understanding and recruiters are more than willing to support your next career move!

Should you need additional support, we have compiled a list for you below.

1. Check Out These Grants To Support You And Your Family 

Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)’s Covid-19 Support Grant – If you have been out of a job for at least three consecutive months, you are eligible for a monthly cash grant of up to $800 for 3 months. More than 60,000 residents have benefited from this grant, with more than $90 million distributed so far. To qualify, your monthly per capita income has to be under $3,100, and your prior gross monthly household income has to fall under $10,000. Apply by 31 December 2020. 

CDAC’s Assistance for Retrenched – CDAC will provide a one-time financial grant to individuals who have been retrenched. Each applicant can qualify for between $100 and $400. Apply by 30 September 2020.

2. Take Advantage of Workforce Singapore’s Support Services

Workforce Singapore has prepared a SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to increase job opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs initiative, bring a new SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme to mid-career individuals and provide new training support under the SGUnited Skills programme.

These support services can help you look for jobs, traineeships and training opportunities. Visit the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre nearest to you and speak to a Career Ambassador. He or she will be able to provide advice and tips on how to kickstart your job search. 

Workforce Singapore has also organised the Virtual Career Fair for mid-career job seekers. View a wide range of positions available in the Logistics, ICT, Finance and Engineering Industries to find the right fit for you. 

For fresh graduates, Workforce Singapore has organised the SGUnited Traineeship programme as part of the SGUnited Job initiative. The monthly training allowance is estimated to be between $1,100 and $2,500 depending on your education qualification. The duration of the traineeship is up to 9 months.

3. Explore NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) 

Whilst going through a career transition, you can arrange a one-to-one session with e2i’s career coach to help you craft your career journey. Additionally, attend one of e2i’s Employability Workshops to gain a competitive edge in your job search journey such as learning how to pitch your work experience and attributes. There are also career preparatory workshops to help you refresh your skills in resume writing and interviewing. 

Separately, there’s the NTUC Care Fund that serves those who have been retrenched, particularly those who are freelancers or self-employed. You can apply for up to $300 and the application deadline is 30 September 2020.

4. Take Part in IMDA’s TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) 

Digital skills are becoming increasingly important in today’s job climate. TeSA was launched to encourage current information and communications technology (ICT) professionals and non-ICT professionals to upgrade new skills and in-demand domain knowledge.

5. Explore the SGUnited Skills Programme


Consisting of industry-relevant and certifiable courses, the SGUnited Skills Programme is a 6 to 12 month full-time training programme that helps job seekers become job-ready when the economy recovers. Course fees are highly subsidised and SkillsFuture Credit can be used for this programme.

If you are interested in additional support, check out supportgowhere.gov.sg which has a comprehensive list of support schemes that may be relevant to you (for instance, The Courage Fund which is being fundraised on Giving.sg).

Retrenchment isn’t easy for anyone. Remember that there’s support available to you, and new opportunities await. Have courage and stay strong!