3,000 S'pore civil servants to be paid S$10 million due to HR & IT system errors

The majority of errors affected male civil servants who had a reduction in the length of their National Service.

Andrew Koay | November 18, 2020, 05:08 PM

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Some 3,000 current and former civil servants are set to receive compensation that they'd previously missed out on due to system errors dating as far back as the 90s.

According to a press release by the Public Service Division (PSD), the errors were discovered in human resource (HR) records when the civil service upgraded its HR and payroll IT systems.

The errors resulted in a shortfall of about S$10 million in benefits owed to civil servants, while others were overcompensated.

PSD has said they will make good on the shortfall to existing and past officers.

Fitness cut for NS not accounted for

The majority of the errors were the result of inaccuracies in the national service (NS) records of male civil servants.

Specifically, PSD discovered that "fitness cut" periods had not been properly accounted for in their systems; resulting in leave and other benefits being affected.

The "fitness cut" period refers to the reduction in the number of months that full-time National Servicemen have to serve because of their performance in pre-enlistment fitness testing.

For example, current enlistees are allowed to start NS two months later than their peers if they score at least 61 points on the pre-enlistees Individual Physical Proficiency Test.

Since 2002, the civil service has recognised the fitness cut period as part of the NS duration for the purposes of determining starting salary and service benefits.

However, due to the errors, those who had earned the "fitness cut" period were recorded as serving a short period of national service than their peers.

The other errors involved inaccuracies in the IT algorithms used to calculate the medical leave wages for civil servants on service injury leave, as well as errors in the HR system programme to compute the payments that some pensioners make when they retire from the civil service in order to receive annual allowance.

The errors arose primarily because of human errors in data entry and coding of the HR and payroll IT systems.

Process took over two years to complete

Once the errors were discovered, PSD worked on tracing and validating the source of the specific errors in the IT systems. This involved agencies across the civil service and checks on some 102,000 current and past records, which date back to the 1990s.

The process took over two years to complete.

PSD announced that the civil service will proactively reach out to individuals who have been under-compensated due to the errors in two phases:

  • Current civil servants will be contacted by their HR departments between now and March 2021.
  • Former civil servants will receive registered mail at their last known address, as well as phone calls and home visits, from now till March 2021.

Individuals who have queries can approach the HR departments of the government agencies they are currently working in or were employed before they left the service. They can direct questions at [email protected]

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