Modest bonuses, wage rises expected

Modest bonuses, wage rises expected

SINGAPORE - That expensive holiday or luxury car may have to wait.

Workers are not likely to get bumper payouts in the current bonus season and salary increases are expected to be modest this year in a slowing economy, surveys indicate.

But most will still receive bonuses of between 1.5 and 2.4 months' pay on top of their annual wage supplement - commonly known as the 13th-month payment - say recruitment and remuneration firms and industry associations.

While some firms pay workers bonuses throughout the year, most pay the bulk of their bonuses in December and January.

Although the economy grew 4.4 per cent in the fourth quarter last year compared with the same period a year ago, it shrank 2.7 per cent compared with the third quarter, based on official advance data released on Thursday.

Consulting firm Hay Group surveyed 531 Singapore-based firms at the end of last year on their planned bonus payouts. These firms are giving their staff an average variable bonus of 2.4 months' pay, excluding the 13th-month payment.

The Singapore National Employers Federation (Snef) did a similar survey of its 310 members in November. They are giving a median bonus of 1.5 months' pay, excluding the 13th-month payment.

Singapore's largest employer, the Government, paid 2.5 months' bonus in total - including the 13th-month payment - to its 80,000 civil servants last year.

The average bonus payouts by the companies surveyed by Hay Group, Snef and remuneration firms are lower than what some unionised firms are paying. The National Trades Union Congress said earlier this week that three in 10 unionised firms are paying average bonuses of four months, based on a preliminary survey.

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