Civil servants to receive one month year-end bonus

Those in junior grades will also get one-time $500 payment, says Public Service Division

All civil servants will receive a year-end bonus of one month's salary, the Public Service Division (PSD) in the Prime Minister's Office said yesterday.

Civil servants in junior grades - equivalent to MX15 and MX16, as well as those in OSS (Operations Support Scheme) Grades III to V - will get an additional one-time payment of $500.

The bonus, or annual variable component (AVC), recognises the sustained hard work and diverse contributions of officers in the fight against Covid-19, said the PSD.

"Over the past year, public officers have continued to dedicate themselves to the national fight against Covid-19 and have worked tirelessly to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe," said the PSD.

Taken together with the mid-year AVC, civil servants this year received a full-year AVC of 1.3 months, compared with 0.55 months in 2019.

There was no mid-year or year-end bonus for civil servants last year amid the pandemic.

This year's year-end bonus is a significant rise from the year-end AVC of 0.1 month given in 2019.

All civil servants will continue to get the one month non-pensionable annual allowance, commonly known as the 13th-month bonus.

The PSD noted that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has updated its gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to around 7 per cent for this year. It also cited the economy's expansion by 7.1 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of this year, a rise from the 1.3 per cent expansion in the first quarter.

Resident employment grew more quickly in the third quarter, particularly in outward-oriented industries such as wholesale trade and manufacturing, added PSD.

The AVC, which reflects economic conditions, is typically set based on a multiple of a civil servant's monthly salary. As the civil service is Singapore's biggest employer, its bonus is closely watched by the private sector.

National Trades Union Congress deputy secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said the labour movement "is appreciative of our public officers who have been at the front of Singapore's fight against Covid-19, putting in hard work and contributing in their respective roles."

General secretary Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees said the union is appreciative that the Government took into consideration the National Wages Council's (NWC) guidelines to do more for lower-wage workers.

"This gesture is a much-needed encouragement for our civil servants as Singapore's economy is still in recovery," he said.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung announced that 100,000 public healthcare workers involved in the national response to the pandemic will get a special one-time award amounting to $4,000 each.

The year-end bonus for civil servants is fair and warranted given the effective and consistent recovery of Singapore's economy, said Mr Derrick Teo, CEO of human resource company Elitez Group.

But this may not be the case across the private sector, he noted. "Sectors that benefited well in the last two financial years are likely paying well above the usual bonus rates, while sectors negatively affected by the pandemic, such as aviation and hospitality, are unable to present bonuses," he said.

CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun said: "Last year, there was no bonus for civil servants as the Singapore economy shrank by 5.8 per cent. This year's bonus is an acknowledgement that the economy is on a more stable footing now."

Singapore National Employers Federation executive director Sim Gim Guan said the full-year AVC "is also a recognition of the sustained hard work and diverse contributions of public service officers in the fight against Covid-19".

"However, as the economic recovery is uneven, private sector employers should reward bonus to employees based on their performance," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Civil servants to receive one month year-end bonus'. Subscribe