ALL 82,000 civil servants in Singapore will receive a year-end annual variable component (AVC) bonus of 0.8 month, on top of the traditional 13th-month bonus.
Together with the mid-year AVC of 0.5 month, the total bonus for the year comes up to 2.3 months and will be paid in December, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Tuesday.
This is slightly lower than last year's total bonus package of 2.5 months, but higher than the total of two months bonus given out in 2012.
PSD also announced that all lower-wage officers will receive an AVC of at least S$1,200, a signal of the government's "continued commitment" to help this group of workers. This minimum payout, however, is down from last year's S$1,600.
The lower bonus this year was revealed on the same day the Ministry of Trade and Industry forecast that the economy would grow about 3 per cent in 2014, a narrowing of the previous estimate of 2.5-3.5 per cent. Singapore's GDP growth was 3.9 per cent in 2013.
"Growth for the year is expected to be supported primarily by externally oriented sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, and finance and insurance services, while domestically oriented sectors such as business services are expected to remain resilient," said PSD.
"The job market remained tight in the third quarter of 2014, as unemployment stayed low and steady, with employment growth matching the previous quarter."
The labour movement said that it "welcomed" PSD's announcement on the year-end payout. In a statement, Cham Hui Fong, the assistant secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, described it as a "fair" amount.
She added that the payouts this year were a result of several rounds of "close consultations and negotiations" between public sector union representatives and PSD, taking into account Singapore's economic performance and the National Wages Guidelines for 2014/15.
"While Singapore's growth forecast has narrowed, we are heartened with the fair payout this year. In particular, we are pleased that continued focus has been placed on the Division 3 and 4 employees. This signals the PSD's commitment to helping our lower wage officers," she said.
According to PSD, some 980 civil servants will benefit from the minimum AVC payment of S$1,200. A person earning a monthly salary of S$1,200 will get the minimum year-end AVC of S$1,200, which is S$240 more than what he or she would get at the rate of 0.8 month, which would have worked out to S$960.
Union leaders were receptive of the bonus amounts. Ma Wei Cheng, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees, said that he was happy with the outcome of the negotiations and encouraged by PSD's acknowledgement of their employees' hard work and dedication to public service.
G Muthukumarasamy, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Daily Rated Workers, said: "(We) understand that because of Singapore's slower economic growth, this year's AVC is slightly lower than last year's. But even with the narrowed GDP, the government has still given us a good end-year package and we are therefore very grateful and thankful to them. All of our members will be very happy with this payout."