CIVIL servants will each get a $500 one-off payment to mark Singapore's 50th birthday this year, the Public Service Division (PSD) announced yesterday.
They will receive the special payment on top of their mid-year bonus this year, which will amount to half a month's pay - the same amount that all 82,000 civil servants received last year.
Some 2,500 lower-wage Division IV civil servants, who earn between $1,416 and $1,813 a month, will also get a wage hike of $30 a month, over and above this year's annual increment. The National Wages Council had recently recommended a $60 increase for those earning less than $1,100, but PSD noted all Division IV officers already earn more than that.
The bonus, which will be paid next month, was decided on after "close consultation with the public sector unions", the PSD said.
Statutory boards, which are separate entities from ministries, were not covered by the PSD's announcement. But like many private sector firms, they use the civil service as a reference when deciding on pay and bonuses.
The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), which encouraged firms to pay a special SG50 bonus if they can afford it, was "heartened" its call was accepted.
NTUC assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong told The Straits Times that companies she had spoken to were waiting for the Government - the largest employer here - to act before deciding on the question of a special SG50 bonus for their staff.
"I urge companies to not just look at this year's profit but to also consider employees' contributions over the last 50 years when determining how much to reward them," she said.
Some have already been doling out SG50 perks. DBS Bank gave all its employees ranked vice-president and below a $1,000 cash bonus, while SMRT is giving all its 8,400 employees $500 worth of shopping vouchers.
NTUC's social enterprises will give vouchers to staff. NTUC FairPrice, for instance, said its almost 10,000 employees will receive vouchers worth $200 for non-executives and $100 for executives.
The PSD said the mid-year bonus was decided on against a backdrop of slightly better economic growth so far this year. And for the whole year, the economy is expected to grow between 2 per cent and 4 per cent, amid "marginally better" global economic growth this year compared with last year.
Civil service unions welcomed the Government's announcement.
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees general secretary Yeo Chun Fing said the union was "pleased that the PSD continues to recognise the good work and dedication of public employees with a fair mid-year payment".
Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers general secretary G. Muthukumarasamy added: "The bonus and built-in wages will help our lower-wage workers and their families alleviate their daily expenses and help cope with the rising cost of living."
School operations support officer Lim Teck Seng, 44, who earns $1,500 a month, was pleasantly surprised: "It's a lot! This is a third of my monthly pay."
He plans to use the extra cash to help his daughter pay for her private degree.