Civil servants to get 0.3-month mid-year bonus as economic outlook improves

Civil servants will receive a 0.3-month mid-year bonus, with those in more junior grades receiving an additional one-off payment.
Civil servants will receive a 0.3-month mid-year bonus, with those in more junior grades receiving an additional one-off payment.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's 86,000 civil servants will receive a 0.3-month mid-year bonus, while those in more junior grades will receive an additional one-off payment of $350 or $700, the Public Service Division (PSD) announced on Friday (June 18).

This comes amid an improvement in the economic outlook this year, though downside risks - such as an uneven pace of recovery across various sectors of the economy - remain, the PSD said in a statement.

It cited how the economy expanded by 1.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of this year, a reversal from the 2.4 per cent contraction in the previous quarter.

Total employment and overall unemployment have also improved on a quarter-on-quarter basis.

However, countries around the world are experiencing recurring waves of Covid-19 infections caused by more transmissible strains of the virus, PSD said.

Despite Singapore’s steady progress in vaccinating its population, significant risks and uncertainties remain, PSD added, noting that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has maintained a gross domestic product growth forecast of 4 to 6 per cent for this year.

The mid-year bonus payment is meant to recognise the “tireless efforts of civil servants while bearing in mind the overall economic situation”, the PSD said.

The Government will continue to monitor the economic situation closely, the PSD said, and take into consideration guidelines that the National Wages Council (NWC) will release later this year when deciding on the year-end bonus.

“We deeply appreciate the hard work and perseverance of all public officers in the fight against Covid-19,” said the PSD.

There was no mid-year bonus for civil servants last year amid the economic gloom caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The last time this happened was in 2009 during the global financial crisis. They also did not receive a year-end bonus. 

Ms Cham Hui Fong, deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, said the union is heartened that the Government took into consideration the NWC’s recommendation by providing a one-off lump sum for lower-wage workers. 

“We hope the Government will consider built-in wage increases that are more sustainable and can uplift their incomes in the longer term,” she said.

She also called on private sector companies seeing recovery or growth to reward their workers duly and fairly. 

As the civil service is Singapore’s biggest employer, its bonus is closely watched by the private sector, while statutory boards and other government agencies take their cue from it.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees, said the union is glad that the mid-year bonus has been brought back, with additional financial support for lower-income public officers.

Those in grades equivalent to MX13(I) and MX14 will receive an additional one-off payment of $350, while those in grades equivalent to MX15 and MX16, as well as grades III to V of the Operations Support Scheme receiving a higher one-off payment of $700. 

A 28-year-old teacher, who declined to be named, said the 0.3-month bonus is great news for civil servants. “We have worked extremely hard for the past 1.5 years amid the pandemic, and it feels good to have some small affirmation in the form of a bonus,” she added.