SINGAPORE: Civil servants in Singapore will receive a 0.5-month mid-year bonus and a one-off payment of at least S$300, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Tuesday (Jun 19).
Some lower-wage civil servants - those in Grades IV and V of the Operations Support Scheme (OSS) - will receive a higher lump sum payment of S$500.
For civil servants in Grade V of the OSS, there will also be a built-in wage increase of S$20, in addition to their annual increment.
While the mid-year bonus of half a month's salary is the same as last year's, the last time a one-off lump sum payment was given was in 2015 to mark Singapore's 50th birthday.
This year's mid-year payment was announced against a backdrop of "sustained expansion in economic activity", said PSD, noting that the Singapore economy grew by 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018 and is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent for the full year based on preliminary estimates.
"Supported by sustained expansion in economic activity, the labour market improved slightly in the first quarter of 2018. Unemployment rates and retrenchments declined, while total employment grew slightly," PSD said in its media release.
"Against this backdrop and taking into consideration the NWC’s recommendations, in close consultation with the public sector unions, the Government will be making the following mid-year payments."
PSD said the payments also signal the Government’s "continued commitment to support our lower-wage civil servants".
Around 1,450 civil servants will benefit from the higher lump sum payment, it added.
The mid-year payments will be made in July.
RECOGNITION OF HARD WORK AND EFFORT: LABOUR UNION
The payout package signals the recognition of the "hard work and effort" put in by civil servants over the last few years, said National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong.
She noted the "stark improvement" in worker productivity - from 1.8 per cent in 2016 to 4.5 per cent in 2017 - and said NTUC hopes the bonus will encourage workers to "continuously strive for higher productivity and provide better services to the public".
"We also hope that our private sector companies will take cue to reward their workers duly and fairly," she added.
Mr G Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers, also expressed his approval of the payout.
"Despite Singapore’s projected growth, I urge our members to spend the annual variable component (AVC) wisely on their families and their children, and also be prudent to save up for the rainy days," he said.
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE) general secretary Yeo Chun Fing said that civil servants had expected "slightly more" for this year's AVC component, in light of the economy's performance in the last two years.
"I’m glad that the AVC given is in line with the recommendations made by the National Wages Council," said Mr Yeo.