Coronavirus: Temasek freezes staff salaries from April to raise funds

A screengrab from Temasek's Stay Prepared video on Twitter involving staff preparing hand sanitisers for front-line workers.
A screengrab from Temasek's Stay Prepared video on Twitter involving staff preparing hand sanitisers for front-line workers.PHOTO: TEMASEK/TWITTER

National investment firm Temasek will be freezing the salaries and promotion increments of its staff from April to help raise funds for people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

In addition to these freezes, senior management, which includes managing directors and above, can take a voluntary base salary cut of up to 5 per cent, for up to a year.

Temasek said yesterday that the budget originally set aside for employees' salary increases will be donated to T-Touch, Temasek's staff-volunteer initiative, to support communities, both locally and abroad, when needed during this time.

The voluntary base salary reductions from senior management will also be donated, and matched dollar-for-dollar by Temasek.

On top of these actions, senior management will additionally take a partial cut in their annual bonuses this year.

These will not go directly to T-Touch, but will be held by Temasek as a contingent expense, to be used for future community-related efforts to support those affected by the virus.

The various funds collected from these measures will go towards Temasek's ongoing initiatives, which recently have included preparing and repackaging hand sanitisers for front-line workers, such as those in healthcare, transport, security and education.

The Straits Times understands that the salary reduction exercise is not in reaction to the performance of Temasek's investments, but rather a move to stand alongside its companies and the community during this period.

The move is also for the investment firm to exercise restraint and prudence in view of the coronavirus situation.

 
 
 

Temasek has implemented similar salary reductions in the past, such as during the Sars outbreak and the global financial crisis.

It is believed that Temasek will not be directing its portfolio companies to follow suit in its salary reductions, although some have introduced similar restraint measures.

Correction note: In an earlier version of the article, Temasek said any salary freeze would typically occur for a year as salaries were reviewed annually. The company has clarified that it has not set a date for the end of the current freeze. This will depend on market conditions.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2020, with the headline 'Coronavirus aid: Temasek freezes staff salaries from April for a year'. Subscribe