SINGAPORE - The mid-year bonus for Singapore civil servants this year will be slightly higher than last year.
All 84,000 civil servants will receive a bonus of 0.5 of a month's pay, a tad higher than last year's 0.45, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Thursday (June 15).
The PSD said its decision was made against a backdrop of uneven labour demand and improving economic growth, and in "close consultation" with public sector unions.
It noted that as the economy restructures, redundancies are expected in some sectors. Demand for workers is also expected to be uneven among industries this year.
Employment growth has moderated too, even as the unemployment rate trends upwards.
The economy grew 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year and is forecast to grow by 1 per cent to 3 per cent for the full year. In contrast, the economy grew 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of last year.
Unionists said they were glad the mid-year payments have increased as the outlook for economic growth perks up.
Although the bonus increase in is not huge, " it's 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.
But lower-wage workers will get a smaller increase in their built-in pay than the sum recommended by the National Wages Council (NWC).
There are about 1,485 of them and they will get $15 to $20 more a month, on top of their annual pay increment for the year.
The NWC, however, had called for an increase of $45 to $60 for low-wage workers earning a basic salary of up to $1,200 a month.
But, the PSD pointed out, all civil servants already earn more than $1,200 a month.
Those who will get a boost in their built-in pay 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. Their built-in wage increase is $15.
Grade V officers under the same scheme 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 the pay increases signal the Government's continued commitment to help raise the pay of low-wage civil servants.
The payments and pay risSes take effect next month, said the PSD, adding that year-end bonuses for civil servants would be decided after considering Singapore's economic performance in the second half of the year.
Mr G Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers, said the bonus was "reasonable".
His union, he added, would continue to work closely with PSD to "review the salaries of lower-wage civil servants and upgrade the value of their jobs".
Assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Cham Hui Fong said she was glad the Government was committed to helping S lower-wage civil servants.
"As our economic and employment landscapes evolve, we will work closely with relevant Government agencies to press on with efforts to increase productivity to ensure our working people remain relevant with training and skills upgrading," said Ms Cham.