Singapore – For the first time since 2009, civil servants in Singapore will not be receiving a mid-year bonus this year due to the “unprecedented economic crisis” brought about by Covid-19, said the Public Service Division (PSD) on Thursday (June 18). Members of the online community noted essential workers deserve more support and ministers should get a pay cut instead.
According to the PSD website, Singapore employs about 146,000 public officers working in 16 ministries. Within the Public Service division, about 85,000 officers work under the Civil Service sector where they work in the various departments and organs of state, such as administrative service, legal, education, police, civil defence and other generic services.
Said civil servants would not be receiving any mid-year AVC (Annual Variable Component) this year. Furthermore, public officers in superscale grades will take a one-time salary cut of either 0.5 or one month, with those in higher grades taking a more significant reduction, said PSD.
According to the announcement, total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, for the first quarter of 2020 has contracted sharply. Resident and citizen unemployment rates continued to rise in March 2020, alongside retrenchments. “The Public Service stands in solidarity with the rest of the nation during this difficult period,” said PSD. The Government has decided on cancelling this year’s AVC payments to civil servants as a response to the “worsening economic outlook.”
Meanwhile, public officers in superscale grades will receive another pay cut on top of the earlier 0.5-month pay cut taken by senior public service officers in key leadership positions back in February 2020. In 2018, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing disclosed through a written response to a parliamentary question that the starting monthly salary for a senior management superscale officer is about S$11,000.
“The Government appreciates the hard work and sacrifices of public officers in the fight against Covid-19, including those working on the frontline and behind the scenes,” said PSD who added that Government agencies would make different efforts to appreciate and recognise the good work of officers.
Netizens responded to the news by suggesting more support should be provided for essential workers and civil servants as they were the ones “having to brace the dangers of the virus while everyone was locked up at home.” A few encouraged civil servants to “think positively” as it is still a blessing they have stable jobs amid a pandemic that caused others to lose their source of income. Mohamad Syahid Bin Arif hoped their efforts and sacrifices would soon be rewarded abundantly.
Numerous comments also focused on ministerial bonuses, wherein netizens prompted more pay cuts to be imposed on ministers. “Ministers should rightfully take an 80 per cent pay cut,” suggested Sakthi Alderweireld while Ryan Lee said ministerial bonuses should also be forgone. Another netizen shared an idea of Members of Parliament donating a part of their salaries to frontline workers. Many perceived that such actions would show “solidarity and unity.”