The Truth Behind Your 13th Month “Bonus”

There is only 12 months in a year. When you get paid a ’13th month’ of wages, you will feel delighted, no? No. Why do you think footballers in the English Premier League are paid weekly?

Ponder over these points.

Unless you are on commission or special bonus wage schemes, chances are you are paid a fixed amount of money monthly in Singapore.

Is there a possibility you get paid $10/hour on some days and $12/hour on some days in your course of work over the year? Of course not. You get paid the same rate year in year out, until you get a raise. If that’s the case,

“Why are you paid the some amount of money in January and February?”

If you still don’t get it. There are 31 days in January and there are 28 (normally) days in February. The question now – are you overpaid for February or underpaid in January? You choose what you want to believe in.

To me, February is the only month you get paid correctly in the whole year in Singapore. Employers in Singapore will never overpay you in February. Fat hope and you know it. There are four weeks in a month and we get paid for 28 days in a month. that’s it. Straightforward.

In short we are underpaid in every other month other than February.

January – 3 days
March – 3 days
April – 2 days
May – 3 days
June – 2 days
July – 3 days
August – 3 days
September – 2 days
October – 3 days
November – 2 days
December – 3 days

3 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 3 = 29 days.

The shorter way to calculate this would be:

1 month 4 weeks.
You get paid 12 times a year = 12 x 4 = 48 weeks.
There are 52 weeks in a year. 52 – 48 = 4 weeks unpaid

The fact is that Singapore employers hold 29 days of your pay over the year and could refuse to pay you your rightful money if you did not ‘perform’. Even if they do it, that meant many employees in Singapore did not get any bonuses from their companies at all. The 13th month is your pay. It is Not a bonus!

In reality, if they pay us back the ’13th month bonus’, they employer still owe us 1 day’s wages (29 – 28) and get away with it year after year, decade after decade. If you leave the company before the year is up your ’13th month bonus’ is forfeited instead of pro-rated. That’s robbery.

This is ridiculous. The manpower laws in Singapore are not stopping the businesses against such unfair practices and the NTUC is not doing their job fighting for the rights of workers.

The next time you receive your “13th month bonus”, ask yourself why are you feeling so happy getting back what you deserve in the first place?



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