The Often Overlooked Benefits For Real Estate Agents
Year 2020 is indeed a year of havoc.
Before the pinky pig took its heroic retreat early this year, the seemingly innocent rat was already tearing the new year with its mighty teeth, leaving the world gushing with blood.
Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat came out with 3 budgets worth almost $60billion in the space of 7 weeks. That has never happened before in the history of Singapore. Even then, there is the assurance of more to come, if the COVID-19 situation do not improve.
In these budgets, the government came out with measures to support the Self-Employed.
(1) Self-Employed Person Training Support Scheme
Under this scheme, the government will provide a training allowance of $10 per hour to self-employed persons who attend courses under the SkillsFuture Series, or selected training programs.
(2) Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme
Eligible self-employed workers will receive S$9,000 in quarterly cash payouts (May, July and October) under the new income relief scheme.
This supplementary income is definitely helpful for Real Estate Agents. The "Circuit Breaker" period of almost 2 months means no physical viewings can be conducted. Many of us see our earnings evaporated.
With the imminent recession looming, the clouds only seem to get darker.
Are there any other benefits that Real Estate Agents are entitled to?
In this article, I would like to share some benefits which many of my fellow realtors frequently overlooked.
Pro-Family Leave Schemes
The Pro-Family Leave Schemes under the Marriage and Parenthood Package (M&P) aims to promote a pro-family environment in Singapore. These schemes support parents in having and raising children.
(1) Government-Paid Child Care Leave & Extended Child Care Leave Benefits
Real Estate Moms and Dads, are you aware that we are entitled to paid childcare leave benefits every year if our child is under 12 years old?
"Omg.... am I missing out on something? Why am I not aware of this?" Lol. I hear many of you silently asking yourself now.
Under this Government-Paid Child Care Leave, real estate agents can enjoy paid child care leave benefits to care and spend quality time with their children.
For parents with a child younger than 7 years old, you and your spouse are entitled to 6 days of childcare leave each.
For parents with children between 7 and 12 years old, the number of days of childcare leave is reduced to 2.
If you have been a real estate agent continuously for 3 months, and your child is a Singaporean, you will be eligible to claim under this scheme.
The government will reimburse you for 3 days of childcare leave if your child is younger than 7 years old, and 2 days of childcare leave if your child is between 7 and 12 years old.
The amount to reimburse is calculated based on your Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
All claims must be submitted no later than 3 months after the last day of the calendar year.
Mr Tan has been a real estate agent for 10 years. He has a 5 years old child. The total income reflected in his NOA is $120,000. Mr Tan claimed 3 days of childcare leave in Jan 2020. He will be reimbursed by the government for these 3 days at $1,384.62.
(2) Government-Paid Maternity Leave Benefits
Real Estate Moms, have you claimed your maternity leave benefits for the little one whom you have just given birth to?
Working mothers (including self-employed) can enjoy maternity leave benefits under this scheme. This will help to provide sufficient time for mothers to recover from childbirth and care for newborns.
For the 1st and 2nd child, the Government will pay for the 9th to 16th week of your maternity leave. It is capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or a total of $20,000 per child.
For 3rd and subsequent child, the Government will pay for all 16 weeks of your maternity leave. It is capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or a total of $40,000 per child.
If you have been a Real Estate Agent continuously for 3 months, and your child is a Singaporean, you will be eligible to claim under this scheme.
The Government will reimburse the working moms maximum of $20,000 for 1st and 2nd child, and maximum $40,000 for 3rd and subsequent child.
The amount to be reimbursed is calculated based on your Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
All claims must be submitted no later than 3 months after the last date of maternity leave is taken.
My colleague, Jane gave birth to her 3rd child on 1 Jan 2020. She has been a real estate agent for the past 8 years, and her NOA reflects a total income of $150,000.
She took 4 months of maternity leave from Jan to April 2020. Under the Government-Paid Maternity Leave, she is being reimbursed $40,000.
(3) Government-Paid Paternity Leave Benefits
Dads, you are entitled to paid paternity leave benefits too!
To encourage shared parental responsibility, the government will be paying paternity leave to working fathers (including self-employed).
Moms, I can hear you screaming for joy! Yes, aren't we glad there will be someone to help with the crying baby?
Fathers will be entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave. It must be taken within 12 months from the child's date of birth, and submitted within 3 months from the last day of leave.
The government will reimbursement working fathers maximum of $5,000 under the Government-Paid Paternity Leave.
This is calculated based on your Notice of Assessment from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS).
To be eligible, you must have been a real estate agent continuously for 3 months. You must also be the natural father and be lawfully married to the child's mother. The child must be a Singapore citizen.
Mr Tan has been a real estate agent for 3 years and is earning a yearly income of $200,000.. His wife gave birth to a baby in February this year. Mr Tan took 2 weeks of paternal leave to take care of his wife and baby.
Under the Government-Paid Paternity Leave Benefits, Mr Tan is being reimbursed $5,000 by the government.
(4) Adoption Leave Benefits For Mothers
For Real Estate Moms who are looking to adopt a child, you are entitled to Adoption Leave Benefits too!
Working mothers (including self-employed) can enjoy Adoption Leave benefits under this scheme. This will provide sufficient time for mothers to care for and bond with the child.
For each of your 1st and 2nd child, the Government pays for the 5th - 12th week of your adoption leave, capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or $20,000 for each child.
For each of your 3rd and subsequent child, the Government pays for all 12 weeks of your adoption leave, capped at $10,000 per 4 weeks or $30,000 for each child.
To enjoy these benefits, you have to be the child's adoptive mother. The child must be less than 12 months old when you take this leave.
If the child you adopt is not a Singapore Citizen, either you or your husband have to be a Singaporean. The child must also obtain Singapore Citizenship within 6 months after the adoption order is passed.
Adoptive Real Estate Dads can enjoy Government-Paid Paternity Leave Benefits as per Point (3) too!
Jasmine has been a real estate agent for 2 years. She is earning an annual income of $72,000. Jasmine and her husband adopted a child in September last year. This is their first child.
Under the Adoption Leave For Mothers, Jasmine is being reimbursed $10,000 by the government.
You can find more information on the Pro-Family Leave Schemes here: https://www.profamilyleave.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx
I hope what I have shared is useful. If you think my article benefits any of your friends, please feel free to share it with them. Subscribe to my website to receive more real estate career tips too! :)
For tips on how to balance a real estate career and family life, read my article "The Ultimate Balancing Act For Real Estate Moms".
If you are thinking of making a career change, let's have a non-obligated discussion on how myself, together with OrangeTee & Tie and NAVIS, can help you achieve what you hope to achieve in this career.
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About The Author
Vivian joined the real estate industry in 2002. Having been in the real estate business for almost 2 decades, she knows the rewards and challenges that a real estate agent face.
While the real estate career offers lucrative income and flexible work hours, it also presents many challenges - financial insecurity as we do not have basic pay, time management as we juggle work, children and family all at one time.
Only those who have walked the same journey will understand.
Vivian would now like to pay it forward by mentoring fellow agents, especially women who want to build a real estate career.
It is her vision to see women achieving their dreams, and live their lives with purpose and passion through a successful real estate career.
Connect with Vivian at 98577714 to embark on this journey.