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No bonus for civil servants this year; 2,400 lower-wage workers to get S$1,200

ABOUT 85,000 civil servants in Singapore will not be receiving a year-end bonus this year in view of the challenging economic conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

After close consultation with public sector unions, the government has decided that there will not be a year-end annual variable component (AVC) payment for those in the civil service, the Public Service Division (PSD) said on Friday.

The PSD had earlier announced there will be no mid-year bonus this year as well.

However, around 2,400 lower-wage civil servants will receive a one-time lump sum payment of S$1,200 in light of the difficult times. These workers are in Grades III to V of the Operations Support Scheme.

The government will continue to pay the non-pensionable annual allowance of one month to all civil servants.

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"Our public officers have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and worked tirelessly over many months, in the national fight against Covid-19. The government deeply appreciates the hard work of all public officers," PSD said in a statement.

It noted that Covid-19 has left a significant impact on Singapore's economy and labour market this year. According to the Ministry of Manpower's preliminary estimates, the overall, resident and citizen unemployment rates rose in the third quarter.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has also narrowed its forecast contraction to between 6 per cent and 6.5 per cent in 2020, from 5 per cent to 7 per cent before.

"Singapore's external demand outlook in 2020 remains subdued with key advanced and regional economies expected to contract in Q4 2020 and be in full-year recession," PSD noted.

Cham Hui Fong, deputy secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said NTUC appreciates that the government has taken the cue from the National Wages Council to extend financial support for lower-wage workers in the public service.

"Looking forward, NTUC and the public sector unions will continue to work closely with PSD to upgrade and upskill our civil servants, and work in tandem with the government agencies to transform industries impacted by Covid-19 and raise workers' productivity," she said.

NTUC called on private sector companies to take care of their workers in these challenging times, and pay special attention to their lower-wage workers.

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