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Building industry subcontractors have urged the authorities to expand the waiver of foreign worker levies since they can’t manage to restart paying the levies this month because nearly all of their employees continue to be not able to operate, documented TODAY.

“The initial intention of this levy is to restrain the (amount of) employees,” explained Peh Ke Pin, Director of neighborhood building firm PQ Builders, that will be one of 120 subcontracting firm that endorsed a 30 June letter by other companies raising these issues to the government.

“When our employees are no more under our control and we’re not needing any fruitful work to create earnings, why will the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still have the foundation to request us to cover levy?” He advised TODAY.

The majority of his 130 overseas workers haven’t returned to work, staying in Tuas View Dormitory.

But, payments are supposed to restart as the government look to discharge employees quarantined in dormitories.

Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo disclosed in a Facebook article on 25 June she had received requests from companies to expand the levy waivers to get a couple more weeks, also then she”will seriously think about their own orders, and also do what I could to assist SMEs (small-and-medium ventures ) specifically return on track”.

In an attempt to assist the building industry deal with COVID-19’s effect, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on 27 June introduced the $1.36 billion structure service bundle.

Under the bundle, building companies will be qualified to some monthly foreign worker levy rebates of $90 per work license holder beginning from August 2020 before December 2021.

But, Peh and other builders don’t expect to obtain income for many months, given the uncertainty on the time of employees’ discharge and delays in payments from primary contractors. Therefore, the $90 monthly rebate is quite modest in comparison to a waiver of this levies, they stated.

Lawrence Wong, that co-chairs that the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce, declared on 24 July that foreign employee dormitories will be rid of COVID-19 by 7 August, except for 17 stand cubes in eight purpose-built dormitories functioning as quarantine facilities.

Noting the doubt on when employees can restart job, Hiap Huat Demolition Contractors Director Nick Tay stated:”Initially we were advised that dorms will be cleared by the first half of July, and the second half of July and it’s August. When things are so unclear, they ought to expand the waivers and rebates before the stage that the employees are cleared to do the job ”

“It is not reasonable to put this pressure on us while there is no motion, no earnings,” additional Tay, whose 12 employees continue to be in a Seletar dormitory, specifically PPT Lodge 1B.

Inside his Solidarity Budget address on April, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat declared the foreign worker levy for April will be waived and employers would get a $750 rebate for this month for each work license or S Pass holder.

The lien and waiver were extended for one more month, after the circuit breaker interval’s four-week expansion.

Peh noted that although the government has”thrown up cash to support a few of the prices, most of it’s been passed to our employees and personnel”.

“So the business was taking care of all of the lodging expenses, auto care and things like this.”

He disclosed that his firm were in the negative by about $400,000 from April until June. “Now we must begin paying the levies with no income, how do we live?”

To understand their issue, BCA advised TODAY it held a meeting with all the subcontractors on 17 July, together with all the conversation mostly concentrated”on the struggles of restarting work involving fiscal problems”.