Singapore—The majority of the country’s civil servants, who total around 85,000 in number, will be getting a year-end bonus that is at its lowest in a decade, as announced by the Public Service Division (PSD) on Monday, December 1, reflecting current weak economic conditions and outlook.
Chan Chun Sing, Trade and Industry Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, had a message for public servants yesterday, saying, “Our economic outlook remains uncertain and challenging with downside risks.
I am confident that with the right values and continued hard work, we will ride out the choppy waters together.”
As the Government practices restraint when it comes to this year’s bonus, this month civil servants will be getting the equivalent of 0.1-month annual variable component (AVC), in addition to a one-off lump-sum amount ranging from between S$250 and S$1,500.
However, those who are in lower pay grade categories will be receiving higher amounts in the lump-sum payouts, as part of the Government’s initiative to support junior grade officers.
Around 2,200 officers from Grades III to V will be receiving S$1,500, the highest lump sum. And as for senior civil servants in the highest grade categories, they will be receiving S$400 in the one-off payout, with no 0.1-month annual variable component (AVC), as reported by the Straits Times (ST). There are some 1,700 such senior civil servants on super-scale grades.
The announcement from PSD said, “Taking into account the prevailing economic uncertainties, the PSD, in consultation with and with the support of the public sector unions, will exercise restraint for the year-end bonus payment.”
The ST report says that the civil service is the largest employer Singapore has, which means that its bonuses are monitored by the private sector.
The bonuses for this year are markedly different from those of 2018 and 2017, when civil servants in the lowest grades received at least S$1800, plus an AVC of one month.
The year-end AVC is also smaller than this year’s mid-year AVC, which was at 0.45-month, in addition to between S$200 – S$300 a one-off lump sum. In 2018, the midyear bonus was 0.5-month AVC and between S$300 and S$500 for the one-off lump sum.
But every civil servant will still receive the 13th-month bonus, a one-month non-pensionable annual allowance, which is paid out this month along with the yearend AVC and the one-off lump sum. All in all, this is equivalent to 1.55 months plus the one-off lump-sum payments. For 2017 and 2018, the amount given for the year end bonus was 2.5 months plus lump-sum payments.
The Trade and Industry Ministry has forecast a growth of 0.5 percent to one percent for the economy this year. The PSD announcement said, “While the labour market saw a growth in total employment, unemployment inched up and retrenchments rose over the quarter.”
In response, Cham Hui Fong, assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said “Moving forward, NTUC and the public sector unions will work closely with the public sector to actualise training under the Company Training Committees to not only enhance the employability of workers but to also ensure that they stay updated on the transformation taking place in the public sector.”-/TISG