Civil servants to get 0.5 month mid—year bonus plus S$300 in July

SINGAPORE : In July, all 74,000 civil servants will see their mid—year bonus restored. They will get an Annual Variable Bonus of half a month’s salary, plus a one—off payment of S$300.

The bonus is pegged to economic performance, and the news followed projections of a strong GDP growth this year.

The news will come as welcome relief to teachers and other civil servants who did not receive any variable bonus last year when Singapore was in the grip of a severe recession.

This year, the situation cannot be more different. Latest figures showed the economy growing at 15.5 per cent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

This helped to raise official growth projections for the whole year to between 7 per cent and 9 per cent.

As a reward, officers will get a mid—year bonus of half a month’s pay, and on top of that, S$300.

The half—month quantum matches what they received between 2006 and 2008. The cash payout is also similar to those given out in previous years.

Unions have welcomed the government’s move to reward civil servants for their contributions, saying the bonus will help members, especially low—wage workers, who saw their pay packages shrink last year.

Mr Teo Yock Ngee, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees commented that "having recovered from one of the worst economic downturns last year where everyone, including employers and employees, bit the bullet, we are glad that civil servants’ hard work are recognised and rewarded".

Mr G Muthukumarasamy, general secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers added: "For AUPDRW’s union members, who are daily—rated workers, the announcement of the one—off S$300 payment will definitely go some ways to help our lower—wage workers and their families cope with their daily living expenses."

There are 74,000 officers serving in the public service sector, not including those in statutory boards.

In response to MediaCorp’s queries, Mr Han Neng Hsiu, a director at the Public Service Division (PSD), said the one—off payout "is not a norm".

He said the division makes a "fresh assessment" each year, and decided on S$300 "after considering the National Wages Council’s recommendation to pay greater attention to the low—wage workers as they were especially affected by the high inflation in 2008 and the downturn in 2009.

Mdm Halimah Yacob, deputy secretary—general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said the bonus was decided after close consultation and negotiations between the government and unions, and took into account not just the improving Singapore economy, but also the potential impact of the sovereign debt storm now raging in Europe.

She added: "As we continue to ride the economic upturn, the labour movement will continue to work closely with our tripartite partners to focus on enhancing workers’ capabilities and improving productivity in the public sector so that productivity gains can be shared with our workers."

The PSD said the government will decide on the year—end variable bonus for civil servants after taking into consideration Singapore’s economic performance in the second half of 2010.

— CNA/al