People Management

What is Absentee Payroll?

Learn what absentee payroll is and how it can be beneficial to your employees and your company in Singapore. Check it out here.

A company’s journey to success is virtually impossible without its workforce. Employees, who are usually on-site personnel that manage a business’s day-to-day activities, are crucial to the success of a business. Owners need to pay close attention to the well-being and capabilities of the people they employ to continue the success that their company is experiencing.

Training programs and workshops allow professionals to further develop their knowledge and skills. Whether these are for a specialized field or a broad spectrum of skills, training courses impart techniques that may help them perform more efficiently and productively.

Allowing your employees to look for these training programs and supporting them in their journey to self-improvement is one step to bettering your company’s workforce. This article provides you with a quick overview of absentee payroll funding, which is the Singaporean government’s way of supporting organizations in their workforce development initiatives.

What is Absentee Payroll (AP) Funding?

The Absentee Payroll (AP) fund is a government-funded grant given to companies and businesses to help cover the costs of training and workshops. This subsidy’s aim is to encourage business owners to support and allow their employees to attend certifiable skills training, which can help develop mastery and a deeper understanding of their chosen fields.

photo-1552664730-d307ca884978-768x512 Source:

The Singaporean government came up with this funding effort in conjunction with establishing two statutory boards meant to lead the nationwide initiative of promoting lifelong learning. These are the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), which operate under the Ministry of Education. The goal of these two boards is to promote a culture of holistic lifelong learning through jobs & skills training and education.

Is My Company Eligible for Absentee Payroll?

Singapore’s Absentee Payroll Funding has become an effective approach to boosting participation among business owners and entrepreneurs. The grant shoulders the overtime pay given to staff when they attend training programs and courses outside of office hours. However, not all companies can apply for AP funding for their employees.

Eligibility is one of the most common concerns of employers planning to enroll their employees in SSG-funded training programs. How do you know if your company is eligible for AP funding?

There are a couple of general requirements that have to be met for a company to qualify for an AP grant. These are if (1) it is incorporated in Singapore and (2) if they plan to fully sponsor other fees that trainees may incur throughout the program. Other eligibility qualifications for AP funding apply to the trainee or the employees a company enrolls for training.

Who is Eligible for Absentee Payroll?

It is relatively easy for a company to be eligible for an absentee payroll grant. However, trainees need to meet several requirements before qualifying for AP funding. One of the main conditions trainees need to meet for AP funding is that they should be Singapore citizens or permanent residents of Singapore. Long Term Visit Pass-plus (LTVP+) holders can also qualify for this grant. The applicant company should also enroll and fully sponsor their trainees.

To qualify, the employee must present a bona fide contract as proof of employment of the sponsoring company. The contract should include details such as the employee’s start date, salary, benefits, and working hours, among others.

AP funding support is only applicable if the certifiable course is related to the trainee’s job or field. The grant also requires a trainee to attend at least 75% of the training hours and pass all assessment tests to get the certification.

There are also some circumstances where AP funding is not applicable. These include the following:

  • The trainee is repeating the same course
  • The trainee is already a grantee of a different organization or funding agency’s program
  • The trainee is a part-time employee and a full-time student
  • The trainee is a freelancer or a casual employee
  • The trainee is a student going through on-the-job training

As long as the company and the trainee meet the AP funding requirements, the application process is pretty straightforward. The SSG, however, also has other classifications identifying various types of skills training support under the government’s lifelong training program. You can find these in the table below.

Different Classifications For Government Skills Training Support
Course Fee Funding Suitable for sole-proprietors who meet the criteria above and non-business entities not registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Enhanced Training Support for Small and Medium Enterprises (ETSS) This is applicable for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with a Singapore resident or citizen owning at least 30% of their local shareholding. A company can receive 90% course fee funding under the ETSS if their employment size is not over 200 individuals and its sales do not go over 100 million Singapore dollars.
SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES) This skills training support is for Singaporeans aged 40 years old and above. This program aims to hone skills or reskill an employee mid-career.
Absentee Payroll (AP) Funding The AP grant is also applicable for sole proprietors and non-SMEs not registered with ACRA. A trainee is qualified for enrollment to any SSG-funded training as long as they are not a full-time national serviceman.

Use Spenmo To Manage Your Company Payroll and Employee Benefits

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✅ Corporate Cards for all Employees: Avoid out-of-pocket spend and empower your team to spend for the business
✅ Private and Secure: Salary information are shown in your dashboard as a single lump-sum payment to maintain confidentiality of employee wages
✅ Early PayDay Access: Incentivise employees by allowing them to access part of their salary ahead of payday.
✅ All-in-one payments software: Manage all business payments and accounting reconciliation in one dashboard.

Want to learn more? Talk to our team about how you can get started! >>

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employee still avail of AP if they have previously received AP funding for the same course?

Trainees enrolling for the same course or training program for the second time are no longer qualified for AP funding. The SSG will not fund trainees who did not attend or failed their courses on their first try, in their second attempt.

Can the same employee be eligible for AP funding for different courses?

Employees can apply for AP funding for various courses as long as it is related to their field of work and that the program schedules are not in conflict with each other.

What is Enhanced Absentee Payroll Funding?

The Enhanced Absentee Payroll funding (ETSP) is a specialized program created to support sectors directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sectors qualified for the Enhanced AP funding include tourism, retail, air transport, arts and culture, transportation, marine and offshore industries, and aerospace.

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