Pay rises and variable bonuses are projected to fall for the remainder of the year but will go up in 2014 to levels above the increases recorded in the first quarter of this year, according to Towers Watson.

Salary increases for the first quarter were 4.7 per cent (including promotions) and 4.1 per cent (excluding promotions), with variable bonus at 2.4 months of base pay.

This was reported in the professional services company's 2013 Singapore HR Trends Survey report, which polled a total of 101 Singapore companies.

For the rest of the year, those working in the government sector are expected to have the highest projected pay rise, including promotion, at 7.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the biotechnology and biomedical sector as well as the telecommunications industry posted the lowest expected salary increase, including promotions, for this year at 3.3 per cent.

In 2014, salary increases are projected to improve to 4.9 per cent (including promotions) and 4.3 per cent (excluding promotions), with variable bonus at 2.5 months of base pay.

The highest projected salary increase at 6.3 per cent will be in the petrochemical and oil and gas industries, while the lowest is projected to be in the telecommunications sector at 3.8 per cent.

An increasing number of employers are introducing better work-life balance policies in order to improve staff retention, Towers Watson said.

While all of the companies surveyed provide leave benefits, 96 per cent have employee support schemes and 69 per cent offer flexible work arrangements.

The majority of companies surveyed are set to extend the new paternity leave rules to permanent residents (78 per cent) and non-Singaporeans (68 per cent).

Under the government's enhanced Marriage and Parenthood package, married working fathers are entitled to one week of government-paid leave.

Other than paternity leave, the initiative, which came into effect last month, will allow eligible fathers to share one week of the working mother's 16-week maternity leave entitlement.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents said they are willing to allow working fathers to take this leave within 12 months of the child's birth and 71 per cent are willing to cover the cost for individuals earning more than the government cap of $2,500 per week.

However, none of the companies are willing to allow employees to take this leave beyond 12 months.

The survey also revealed that the top three benefits from having an improved work-life balance policy are better employee engagement, reduced turnover and higher employee productivity.