SINGAPORE: OCBC is giving 4,600 junior employees in Singapore S$1,000 (US$743) each to help them better cope with rising cost-of-living concerns.

The payout is part of a one-off support for close to 14,000 junior employees globally and totals around S$9 million, the bank announced on Tuesday (Feb 20).

The support will help more than 40 per cent of OCBC Group’s overall headcount in its 19 markets and includes employees across OCBC and its subsidiaries including Bank of Singapore, OCBC Securities and Great Eastern Holdings.

The employees will receive the payout from February to March this year, said OCBC.

In Singapore, those receiving the one-off support make up about 40 per cent of the total number of employees based in the country, and include new entrants to the workforce and unionised employees.

Core inflation in Singapore is “expected to decrease more gradually only towards the last quarter of 2024”, according to the bank. Singapore’s core inflation rose to 3.3 per cent in December.

The one-off payment is aligned with a recommendation from the National Wages Council (NWC) in October 2023 which urged employers to give workers one-off payment to help with the rising cost of living, beyond the support from the government.

“Providing a one-off assistance payment, with heavier weightage for lower to middle income employees, was one of the recommendations that was accepted by the Singapore government,” said OCBC.

For employees outside Singapore, the one-off support takes into consideration the respective local market conditions, OCBC said.

OCBC’s head of group human resources, Ms Lee Hwee Boon said: “The amount, for each of the 14,000 who will benefit, may not be large. 

“However, we hope that this can help colleagues defray concerns on the rising cost of living.”

The bank also said that it “regularly reviews its employees’ built-in wage increases and variable payments to ensure that they commensurate with the bank’s performance and employees’ contribution”.

DBS bank had on Feb 7 announced a similar one-time bonus of S$1,000 for its junior employees – who make up half of its total headcount.

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