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How ministerial salaries are calculated in Singapore

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Amid the online buzz about ministerial salaries in recent weeks, several falsehoods have surfaced including around the issue of pay transparency – something HR is more than familiar with.

Hence, in a new post on Factually, the Singapore government steps up to debunk myths on ministerial salaries.

One of the oft discussed topics when it comes to ministerial salaries is how the government is not upfront about how they are calculated. On that topic, Factually noted: “The pay components are set out in a white paper, which was tabled in Parliament in 2012.”

In summary, a minister’s annual salary consists of a fixed component and a variable component.

The fixed component includes monthly pay and the 13th month Annual Wage Supplement (AWS).

While the variable component comprises of a performance bonus, annual variable component, and a national bonus. The performance bonus is determined by the prime minister; the annual variable component is based on Singapore’s economic performance; and the national bonus is based on several factors including the real median income growth rate, real growth rate of lowest 20th percentile income, unemployment rate, and real GDP growth rate.

In total, Factually noted that an entry level (MR4) minister makes about S$1.1 million a year including norm bonuses, adding that if the minister doesn’t do well – and if the economy doesn’t do well – he or she may get well below S$1.1 million.

Another myth perpetuated on websites and social media is that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong draws a total salary of S$4.5 million and that he is being paid S$2.2 million as base salary.

To that point, Factually pointed out that the Prime Minister’s norm salary is set at two times that of an MR4 minister.

It added that the S$2.2 million annual salary includes bonuses and that the Prime Minister does not receive a performance bonus as there is on one to assess his performance annually. He does, however, receive the national bonus.

In line with the above, Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong took the chance to clarify in a Facebook post yesterday that he is not paid a ministerial salary.

“I shall use this opportunity to debunk public perception that I am paid a ministerial salary. ESM is merely a title with no pay,” he said.

Infographic / Factually
Lead photo / 123RF

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