Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing thanked civil servants for their hard work and dedication yesterday, following the announcement that they will not receive a mid-year bonus this year.
In an internal memo to them, he said many Singaporeans have lost their jobs and many more have seen falling incomes in this downturn.
"To face the tough times together, the public service will stand in solidarity with the rest of the nation," he added.
But if the economic situation is better at the end of the year, he indicated the Government would consider if a year-end annual variable payment could be given, especially to lower-wage workers. "We will also recognise your significant contributions through performance bonus," said Mr Chan, who is also Trade and Industry Minister.
"Let us focus on the important task of restoring our economy... I am confident that we will emerge stronger if we overcome this crisis together, and continue to thrive for many generations to come."
His ministry has forecast that the economy will shrink by 4 per cent to 7 per cent this year.
In addition to the pause on mid-year bonuses, public officers in superscale grades will also take a one-time pay cut of half or one month, depending on their seniority.
National Trades Union Congress deputy secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said the move was "difficult but necessary".
"In such difficult times, we also recognise the efforts of senior leadership in public service who are taking the lead and a deeper cut in cost reduction," she added.
"While the worst may have yet to come, we must let the safe reopening of our economy, reinvigorating of our businesses, preserving of jobs and training of our workers take precedence."
Amalgamated Union of Public Employees general secretary Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari said that to emerge faster and stronger from the crisis, collective effort is needed across all sectors.
He added: "Public officers and agencies have stepped up greatly through various roles in helping to contain the spread of Covid-19. However, it is necessary to stand in solidarity with the rest of the nation in coping with this difficult time.
"We will continue to support our officers and assist them as best as possible. Let's keep in sight the recovery and ride through this together."