Saturday 23 November 2013

1.1 month year-end bonus for civil servants, at least $1,600 for lower-wage officers

By Goh Chin Lian, The Straits Times, 22 Nov 2013

CIVIL servants will get a year- end bonus of 1.1 months, with the minimum set at $1,600 to benefit lower-wage officers.

About 1,300 civil servants earning below $1,460 a month will get proportionally more with this minimum annual variable component (AVC), the Public Service Division (PSD) said yesterday.

For example, someone earning $1,200 will get $280 more than the $1,320 he would have got based on 1.1 months of his salary.

This is the second year it has set a minimum sum for the AVC. Last year, it was $1,000.

The civil service year-end bonus is closely watched as it is a guide for the private sector.

The bonus rides on an official forecast of Singapore's economy growing 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent this year, buoyed by a slight pickup in the global economy and domestically oriented sectors, such as construction, the PSD said.

The 80,000 civil servants got a mid-year bonus of 0.4 month. Together with the 1.1 months' AVC and a traditional 13th month bonus due in December, their total bonus this year is 2.5 months.

This is higher than last year's bonus of two months.

Unionists like the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees' general secretary Ma Wei Cheng praised the PSD for taking into account their views.

National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general Cham Hui Fong pointed to its "extensive deliberations" with the PSD, including its call to help lower-wage officers.

Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers general secretary G. Muthukumarasmy said the minimum payout will, amid inflation and higher living costs, go a long way in helping its low- wage members.

Mechanical fitter Raman Kathawarayan, 41, will get over $150 more than if there was no minimum payout.

Said the father of two boys aged 12 and seven: "I'll use it to buy school items for my children for the new year."

Some larger companies may give more than the civil service but most would follow it, managing consultant Peter Lee of Remuneration Data Specialists noted.

He expects the private sector to pay a total variable bonus of one to 3.5 months. With the 13th month payment, the total will be two to 4.5 months.

To earn more, low-wage workers should get training, going by figures of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Survey results of 2007 to 2009 released yesterday show that their wages rose 3.1 per cent on average with training, on top of yearly increments.

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