Singapore's biggest employer - the civil service - will give its employees their biggest bonus in four years, reflecting the brightening economy.
All 84,000 employees in government ministries will receive an annual variable component (AVC) of one month's pay next month. This is on top of a half-month AVC they received in July and a 13th month bonus, adding to a total of 2.5 months in bonus this year.
The Public Service Division (PSD) told The Straits Times this was a result of both an improving economy and discussions with unions.
Other public-sector employees - numbering 61,000 - are set to receive the same AVC payment, as statutory boards and other government agencies typically take their cue from the civil service.
Its payout is also used as a guideline by private-sector companies.
Singapore's economic growth had declined since 2013, from 4.1 per cent that year to 2 per cent last year. Correspondingly, the full-year AVC slid from 1.5 to 0.95 over the same period.
This year, gross domestic product growth is forecast to reach 3 to 3.5 per cent. The economy grew by 5.2 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of this year, compared with 2.9 per cent in the previous quarter.
REWARDING WORKING PEOPLE
We are heartened to see that working people will be able to reap the benefits of this positive outlook.
NATIONAL TRADES UNION CONGRESS ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL CHAM HUI FONG, on how the economy is projected to grow by 3 to 3.5 per cent this year.
National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong welcomed the payout: "We are heartened to see that working people will be able to reap the benefits of this positive outlook."
The PSD also announced that lower-wage workers making less than $1,800 will get a minimum AVC payment of $1,800.
Its move means an officer who earns a monthly salary of $1,500 will get $300 more than he would otherwise get.
The PSD said this was a signal of the Government's continued commitment to help low-wage workers.
Unionists welcomed this.
Said Mr G. Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers: "This is a particularly rewarding sum that will definitely ease their year-end expenses on necessities such as back-to-school spending, plus a little bit more for the coming festivities."
He added: "This year's bonus payout is a sign that things are looking better."
In total, civil servants will receive a full-year AVC of 1.5 months this year, including the mid-year bonus of 0.5 month they were given in July.
Mr Yeo Chun Fing, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees (AUPE), said: "AUPE is appreciative of the Government's efforts to reward our civil servants, especially as they have always put in their utmost efforts behind government programmes and initiatives to serve the people in Singapore."