Subsistence is a term that refers to the maintenance of a status or condition without growth or improving.

It can carry broad meaning of the minimum amount of resources that one needs in order to survive.

These resources can refer to a combination of:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • etc

All of which can be provided for with money, or a substantial salary.

In business, the word is usually meant to convey meanings related to the standard of living or essential amount of money to meet basic living needs.

Employees for example, are sometimes given company benefits called subsistence allowance to help them tide over tough financial times. It can sometimes also be labeled as living allowance.

This is especially the case for new employees who are broke and have no money to live on until the next pay day. It can also be a common type of allowance for people who travel for work or are based overseas.

It can be said that people generally need a living wage for subsistence. This is because a living wage provides a salaried worker just enough money to meet basic living needs.

But living wage should not be confused with subsistence allowance as they are categorically different.

CPF contributions have to be made by employers for employee receiving subsistence allowance if they are working in Singapore. It would not be necessary if the employee is based overseas.

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