The Government, Singapore's largest employer, will give its 85,000 civil servants a year-end annual variable component (AVC) of one month's pay next month.
This is the same amount as last year, and comes against a backdrop of an improving labour market situation in the first half of this year, with total employment growing, more job vacancies available and retrenchments declining, the Public Service Division (PSD) said in announcing the payout yesterday.
The PSD said it also took economic growth into account when deciding the amount of the year-end bonus in close consultation with public sector unions.
Singapore's economy is forecast to grow by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year. Last year's growth came in at 3.6 per cent.
Together with the mid-year AVC of 0.5 month given in July, and what is commonly known as the 13th-month payment in December, civil servants will receive a total payout of 2.5 months this year.
In July this year, civil servants also received a one-off lump sum payment of $300, with a higher lump sum of $500 for lower-wage civil servants in Grades IV and V of the Operations Support Scheme.
Lower-wage civil servants will get a minimum year-end AVC of $1,800. About 1,380 officers earning less than this amount will benefit from this. For example, an officer earning a monthly salary of $1,500 will still get $1,800.
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said the one-month year-end AVC is fair, and she is glad the Government continues to pay more attention to lower-wage civil servants. But she highlighted growing concern about trade protectionism which will affect Singapore's economy, and said NTUC will work with the PSD to help upgrade the skills of lower-grade civil servants.
"Our companies need to speed up on technology adoption and in tandem, our workers have to go for reskilling and upskilling. This will allow us to move up the value chain with higher-value jobs for workers," she said.
Mr Yeo Chun Fing, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees, said the payout is reasonable given the steady performance of the economy.
Mr G. Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers, said he thinks the minimum payout - which is the same as last year's - could be moved up to $2,000 to help workers cope with rising costs.
"Since growth is good at present, why not give a bit extra to the low-wage workers? Living costs like water bills are going up," he said.