New relief fund and pledge of 1,000 jobs extended to hospitality and F&B workers


SINGAPORE-based hotel chain Park Hotel Group and YMCA of Singapore, as well as Helpling, a home-services company, have stepped up to extend support to workers in the hospitality and food and beverage (F&B) sectors hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Park Hotel Group and YMCA of Singapore have launched a relief fund that prioritises hospitality and food and beverage (F&B) workers hit financially by the pandemic.

The Uplift Fund is starting out with a S$500,000 contribution from Park Hotel Group, which will also match donations by its employees dollar for dollar. In total, the fund aims to raise S$3 million.

Park Hotel group chief executive Allen Law said: "We are not out of the woods yet, and my hope is that our gift can help alleviate some of the pressures faced by our industry as we get through this together."

Successful applicants will receive a one-time relief sum of S$500 to S$1,000, and a possible one-time renewal of S$500 after three months if they show that they have gone for at least one session of "relevant training" during the period. The renewal is subject to review by a YMCA panel.

Steve Loh, general secretary and chief executive at YMCA of Singapore, said: "By encouraging them to retrain and upskill in their downtime, they will be more prepared when the next job opportunity is available for them."

Individuals who have lost their jobs or faced loss of personal income of at least 30 per cent will qualify for the relief. But they must be Singapore citizens, Permanent Residents or holders of a valid employment pass or work permit. Their household income (of at least three family members) should also be under S$8,000, or their per capita household income should be less than S$3,500.

Hospitality and F&B workers aside, priority will be given to main caregivers with extended family and/or special-needs family members and those with chronic health conditions. Individuals who "have not benefited from other Covid-19 national relief schemes" also get priority.

Separately, Helpling on Wednesday pledged to train and hire, within the next three months, 1,000 workers displaced from the two sectors.

Candidates will be trained in customer relationship management and professional house-keeping, after which they will be offered roles as full-time home-cleaning and hygiene specialists with Helpling. Successful applicants will earn S$2,000 for a start; "more experienced" candidates will draw as much as S$3,000 a month, said Helpling, noting that these wages are higher than the industry average.

Zhong Jingjing, head of operations at Helpling Singapore, said: "We hope to ... help them find a footing in this uncertain climate, with the goal of transitioning them back into full-time employment."

Helpling now has 1,000 cleaning specialists in Singapore and Australia, most of them in Singapore.