18 November 2020 Press Releases

Public Service to Rectify Errors in HR Records

The Public Service Division (PSD) has discovered errors in the human resource (HR) records of some civil servants while upgrading the Civil Service’s HR and payroll IT systems. The errors arose primarily because of human errors in data entry and coding of the HR and payroll IT systems. The IT systems also had inadequate error detection capabilities. 

2 The majority of the errors pertain to inaccuracies in the Full-Time National Service (FTNS) duration records of male civil servants. Since 2002, the Civil Service has recognised the 'fitness cut' period that a full-time national serviceman was eligible for1, as part of the NS period recognised for the purposes of determining starting salary and service benefits. However, we discovered that the ‘fitness cut’ period was not included in the HR records of some male civil servants. This in turn affected their leave and other benefits. 

3 The other errors involve 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 allowances. 

4 Once the errors were discovered, PSD worked on tracing and validating the source of the specific errors in the IT systems. PSD also worked with agencies across the Civil Service to check through some 102,000 current and past records, which date back to the 1990s, and undertook additional checks and re-computations of benefits. Through the extensive process, which took more than two years, about 3,000 former and currently serving officers in the Civil Service were found to have been under-compensated as a result of the errors. This is about 2% of the civil servants in service over the past two decades. 

5 The Civil Service will make good the shortfall in benefits to existing and past officers. The total compensation is around $10 million. While there were over-compensated individuals, we will not be recovering the excess payments given that these resulted from errors made a long time ago. We will update all records to ensure accuracy going forward.

6 The Civil Service will proactively reach out to individuals who have been under-compensated due to the errors, to make good the shortfalls. We will do so in phases:

a. In-service civil servants will be notified by their respective HR departments between November 2020 to March 2021. The process of validating and making good the shortfalls will be carried out from now till mid-2021.
  b. Individuals who have left the service will receive a registered mail at their last known address, as well as phone calls and home visits, from now till March 2021.  

7 Although Statutory Boards have autonomy over their own HR policies, the Public Service Division is working with all Statutory Boards to also check and verify their own HR records. This process of proactive checks is still in progress, and the Statutory Boards will similarly make good any errors if discovered.

8 As we will be proactively reaching out to all individuals who have been under-compensated, we will like to assure both in-service and ex-public officers that there is no need to rush to contact us. If they have not been contacted by March 2021, they are not adversely impacted by the errors. 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 also write in to Enquiry_2020@psd.gov.sg

9 Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary of PSD said, “The Public Service is deeply sorry for the errors and inconvenience caused. We will make every effort to reach out to every adversely impacted individual to apologise for the error, explain the situation, as well as make good the discrepancy. We have rectified the system programming and built-in error detection capabilities to flag potential errors and ensure such inaccuracies do not recur.” 

For more information, please refer to this Factsheet.


[1] A reduction in FTNS liability is granted to PES A/B1 enlistees who attained at least NAPFA Silver standard for those who enlisted prior to 1 Apr 2015, and at least 61 points for those who enlisted from 1 Apr 2015 onwards, for their pre-enlistee IPPT. Those who enlisted between Jun 1991 and Jun 1993 were given a 1-month cut in their FTNS liability. From Jun 1993 onwards, enlistees who met the physical requirement were given a 2-month cut in their FTNS liability.