Singapore

Lowest bonus in 10 years for civil servants

Most to get 0.1 month bonus plus lump sum as Govt exercises restraint amid weak economy

Most of Singapore's 85,000 civil servants will get a year-end bonus that is the lowest in 10 years, amid the weak performance of the Singapore economy and its uncertain outlook.

They will receive 0.1 month plus an additional one-off lump sum payment of $250 to $1,500.

Civil servants in the lower pay grades, however, will get higher lump sum payouts - an ongoing government practice to support junior grade officers.

The move will see about 2,200 officers in Grades III to V of the Operations Support Scheme getting the top lump sum of $1,500.

Senior civil servants in superscale grades, numbering around 1,700, will be given a one-off payment of $400, without the 0.1 month annual variable component (AVC).

The lower bonus was announced by the Public Service Division (PSD) yesterday.

It said: "Taking into account the prevailing economic uncertainties, the PSD, in consultation with and with the support of the public sector unions, will exercise restraint for the year-end bonus payment."

As the civil service is Singapore's biggest employer, its bonus is closely watched by the private sector, while statutory boards and other government agencies take its cue from it.

This year's December payout is a sharp drop from those of the last two years, when civil servants got an AVC of one month and lower-wage officers were given at least $1,800.

Also lower was this year's mid-year AVC, which was paid in July.

It was 0.45 month plus a one-off lump sum of $200, with lower-grade workers getting $300. Last year, the corresponding figures were: 0.5 month, $300 and $500.

All civil servants will also receive the one-month non-pensionable annual allowance, commonly referred to as the 13th month bonus.

It will be paid in December with the year-end AVC and lump sum payments.

When combined, their total bonus this year is 1.55 months plus the one-off lump sum payments, compared with 2.5 months plus lump sum payments in the last two years.

The current 1.55-month bonus is the lowest since the 2009 global financial crisis when Singapore suffered negative growth.

Civil servants then got - apart from their 13th month bonus - a one-off year-end payment of 0.25 month, capped at $750.

DOWNSIDE RISKS

Minister-in-charge of the Public Service Chan Chun Sing, in a note to civil servants yesterday, said: "Our economic outlook remains uncertain and challenging with downside risks."

Mr Chan, who is also the Trade and Industry Minister, added: "I am confident that with the right values and continued hard work, we will ride out the choppy waters together."

His ministry has forecast that the economy will grow by 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent this year.

Employment