Mr Rosswira bin Ismail has been a casual worker at The Star Theatre and other performing arts centres since 2016, handling carpentry and set up of audio-visual equipment.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit early this year, the number of shows steadily declined from March and, with it, his income. “I still have some savings but if I don’t receive enough work and keep taking out from my savings, it will slowly become zero,” he says.
The 49-year-old started looking for financial assistance to tide him through this period of uncertainty. He found relief through the COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG) and received his first payout in May 2020. He has since taken up ad-hoc delivery jobs to supplement his income.
The CSG provides up to $800 per month for three months to support lower-to-middle income Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident employees who have either lost their jobs, been placed on involuntary no-pay leave or experienced reduced monthly salary of at least 30% for at least three consecutive months. As at 13 September 2020, MSF had approved the CSG for around 79,000 recipients.
From 1 October, new applicants as well as current and former CSG recipients will be able to apply for the Grant if they continue to meet the CSG’s criteria. There will be two additional qualifying criteria to ensure help is channeled to those who need it more – applicants should not own more than one property, and those who have lost their jobs and are currently unemployed will be required to demonstrate their efforts in job search or in undergoing training.
Mr Rosswira recently applied for a job as an audio-visual equipment technician for a cruise company and is waiting for the company’s response. In the meantime, he plans to apply for another three months of assistance through CSG from 1 October to get some financial support while he continues his job search. This period of financial insecurity can be daunting, but Mr Rosswira is determined to persevere through it. His advice to those who have lost a job or are finding it hard to make ends meet: “Try again. Keep on trying.”
For details of help schemes in relation to COVID-19, visit supportgowhere.gov.sg.