Higher bonus reflects better economic outlook

Singapore's economy grew by 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with 1.8 per cent in the same period last year.
Singapore's economy grew by 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with 1.8 per cent in the same period last year. PHOTO: ST FILE

Unionists welcome larger payouts for civil servants; lower-wage staff also get pay hikes

The mid-year bonus for Singapore's civil servants will be slightly higher than last year's, partly reflecting emerging signs of an improvement in economic outlook.

All 84,000 civil servants will receive a bonus of 0.5 of a month's pay, a tad higher than the 0.45 month last year, the Public Service Division (PSD) said yesterday.

About 1,485 lower-wage workers will also get a built-in wage increase of $15 to $20 a month on top of their annual pay increments.

The bonus and pay increases will take effect next month.

Unionists welcomed the higher mid-year payouts.

"Though the increase is not huge, I think it is critical to send a signal to our workers that we will give them a bit more when we can," said Mr Yeo Chun Fing, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees.

The PSD said its decision was taken after considering the economic situation and in "close consultation" with public sector unions.

Singapore's economy grew by 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with 1.8 per cent in the same period last year. It is expected to grow by 1 per cent to 3 per cent for the full year.

Also, labour demand is expected to remain uneven across sectors, while redundancies are expected in some sectors as the economy restructures.

Meanwhile, total growth in employment has moderated, even as the unemployment rate trends upwards.

The built-in pay rise for lower-wage workers is smaller than the sum recommended by the National Wages Council.

It had called for an increase of $45 to $60 for workers earning a basic salary of up to $1,200 a month.

But the PSD said all civil servants already earn more than $1,200 a month.

 

Those who will get the wage increases are Grade IV and Grade V officers in the Operations Support Scheme. They perform administrative support duties such as office maintenance and registry duties.

There are about 900 Grade IV officers, with a monthly salary of between $1,466 and $1,863. They will get a built-in wage increase of $15.

Grade V officers will get a $20 pay rise. There are about 600 such officers, who earn between $1,230 and $1,561 a month.

The PSD said these built-in pay increases signal the Government's continued commitment to help lift the pay of low-wage civil servants.

It also said the year-end bonus for civil servants would be decided after taking into account Singapore's economic performance in the second half of the year.

Mr G. Muthukumarasamy of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers said the mid-year bonus was "reasonable".

Ms Cham Hui Fong of the National Trades Union Congress is glad the Government is committed to helping lower-wage workers. She said: "We will work closely with government agencies to press on with efforts to increase productivity to ensure workers remain relevant with training and skills upgrading."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'Higher bonus reflects better economic outlook'. Print Edition | Subscribe