Civil servants to get half-month mid-year bonus, one-off payments of $300 to $500

A file photo taken on July 9, 2014, shows National Institute of Education graduates reciting the teacher's pledge during a graduation ceremony.
A file photo taken on July 9, 2014, shows National Institute of Education graduates reciting the teacher's pledge during a graduation ceremony.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore's biggest employer - the Government - will give its 85,000 civil servants a mid-year bonus of half a month's pay in July, the same as last year.

They will also receive, for the first time in almost three years, a one-off lump sum payment of $300, with lower-wage civil servants getting $500.

In announcing this on Tuesday (June 19), the Public Service Division (PSD) said the decision to give the mid-year payments was made after close consultation with public-sector unions, and taking into account the recommendations of the National Wages Council (NWC).

The other 60,000 or so employees in the public sector could receive the same 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.

Earlier this month, the NWC, in light of a brighter economic outlook, had proposed a one-off bonus to reward workers.

It suggested that workers earning a basic monthly wage of up to $1,300 should get between $300 and $600 of this special payment, either in a lump sum or over several payments, although no amount or proportion was specified for those earning more than that.

The last time civil servants got a one-off payment was in 2015, when each of them received $500 to mark Singapore's 50th birthday.

About 1,450 civil servants in Grades IV and V of the Operations Support Scheme will get the higher one-off payment of $500. These officers typically provide basic office administrative support functions.

On top of annual increments, the 540 or so Grade V officers, who earn $1,250 to $1,581 a month, will get a built-in wage increase of $20 in their monthly salary.

"The above mid-year payments signal the Government's continued commitment to support our lower-wage civil servants," said the PSD.

Preliminary figures show the Singapore economy grew by 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. The growth forecast for the full year is 2.5 to 3.5 per cent.

The labour market also improved slightly in the first three months of this year, with unemployment rates and retrenchments declining.

Unionists welcomed the payout package. It signals the PSD's recognition of the hard work and effort put in by civil servants over the last few years, said National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong.

"We also hope our private-sector companies will take cue to reward their workers duly and fairly," she added.

Mr G. Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers, said he was happy that lower-wage civil servants are receiving a higher lump sum payment of $500.

But he advised his members to spend the annual variable component wisely on their families and their children, and also to be prudent and save for a rainy day.

The Government will decide on the year-end bonus for civil servants after taking into consideration Singapore's economic performance in the second half of the year, the PSD said.

Teacher Norizainum Abdul Muin, 28, welcomed the $300 payout.

"The economy has not been doing so well and I didn't expect it. The money will come in handy as I just had a baby. "