SINGAPORE: There will be no year-end bonus payment for civil servants, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Friday (Nov 27).
Taken together with the zero mid-year annual variable component (AVC) announced earlier this year, this means there will not be any AVC for the entire year.
The Government will continue to pay the non-pensionable annual allowance of one month, also known as the 13th month bonus, to all civil servants.
"In close consultation with the public sector unions, the Government has decided that there will not be any year-end AVC payment for civil servants this year," the PSD said.
A one-time lump sum payment of S$1,200 will also be paid to civil servants in Grades III to V of the Operations Support Scheme and equivalent grades, to provide "greater support for lower-wage civil servants during this difficult period".
This is in keeping with the recommendations of the National Wages Council (NWC) to uplift lower-wage workers, said PSD.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Trade and Industry further narrowed the 2020 GDP growth forecast to between -6.5 per cent and -6.0 per cent.
"According to the Ministry of Manpower’s preliminary estimates, the overall, resident and citizen unemployment rates rose in the third quarter," said PSD, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has left a "significant impact" on Singapore's economy and labour market.
Singapore’s external demand outlook in 2020 remains "subdued", with key advanced and regional economies expected to contract in the fourth quarter of this year and be in full year recession, it added.
The PSD said public officers have gone "above and beyond the call of duty" in the fight against COVID-19, adding that the Government "deeply appreciates" their hard work.
"The fight against COVID-19 continues and the public service will continue to work hard, hand in hand with our citizens and stakeholders, to manage the pandemic and its economic ramifications."
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said the union supports PSD’s decision in not giving any year-end AVC, in view of Singapore’s weak economic performance this year.
Ms Cham added that the NTUC appreciates that the Government has "taken cue" from the NWC to extend financial support for lower-wage workers in the public service.
“Looking forward, NTUC and the public sector unions will continue to work closely with PSD to upgrade and upskill our civil servants, and work in tandem with the Government agencies to transform industries impacted by COVID-19 and raise workers’ productivity.
“We stand in solidarity with the Singapore workforce and call on the private sector companies to continue to take care of their workers in these challenging times and pay special attention to their lower-wage workers,” she added.
General secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers Raman Kathavarayan said the one-time lump sum payment of S$1,200 is a “much-needed encouragement” for lower-wage employees in the public sector.
Mr Raman said the union was “extremely heartened and appreciative” of the Government’s financial support for lower-wage civil servants despite the economic uncertainties and "gloomy outlook on the local and world economies".
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees general secretary Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari also conveyed the union’s gratitude to public officers who have gone "beyond the call of duty" this year.
“Given the gross domestic product forecast is still in the negative, the union is appreciative that the annual wage supplement has been maintained for all public officers and additional financial support will be provided for our lower-wage public officers,” he added.