Three Singapore Banks Step Up to Combat Rising Cost of Living for Junior Staff

Three Singapore Banks Step Up to Combat Rising Cost of Living for Junior Staff

by February 22, 2024

Three of Singapore’s leading banks have announced substantial financial aid packages in a move to support junior employees during times of economic inflation.

This initiative, kick-started by DBS, followed by OCBC, and then UOB, is in response to the latest guidelines issued by Singapore’s National Wages Council.

The aim is to alleviate the financial pressures faced by lower-income employees due to the rising cost of living.

DBS Earmarks S$15 Million for the One-Time Financial Aid

The bank set the precedent on 7 February 2024, by announcing a one-time bonus for its junior employees as part of its financial results disclosure.

This initiative, designed to support half of the bank’s total headcount, involves an aggregate payment of S$15 million, earmarked in the 2023 expenses.

This move aligns with the recommendations from Singapore’s National Wages Council aimed at assisting employees to cope with the higher costs of living.

OCBC Follows with a S$9 Million Aid Package

Not far behind, OCBC announced on February 20, 2024, a nearly S$9 million financial aid package for its junior staff worldwide.

This one-time disbursement, scheduled between February and March 2024, targets approximately 14,000 employees across OCBC’s subsidiaries, including the Bank of Singapore, OCBC Securities, and Great Eastern Holdings.

This represents over 40% of its global workforce spread across 19 markets. In Singapore alone, 4,600 junior staff members are expected to receive S$1,000 each, accounting for about 40% of OCBC’s Singapore-based employees.

Beyond this financial assistance, OCBC will provide its employees with various resources to enhance their financial literacy, including informational articles, virtual talks, and workshops led by the bank’s in-house wealth advisors.

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

UOB Caps the Initiative with Additional Perks and Benefits

UOB announced today its contribution to this collective effort by offering an extra month of bonus on a one-off basis to its junior employees, classified as Class II officers and below.

This gesture will benefit about 6,000 employees across the group, including approximately 600 in Singapore.

According to UOB, the group is “committed to ensuring that the wage structure of its employees is fair and competitive”.

This will be complemented by a comprehensive range of perks and benefits that are sustainable for the long-term, including enhanced medical support, training programmes and more.