Premier Kathy Dunderdale says the first priority for the government when the house of assembly opens again next week is approval of a signing bonus for unionized employees.

A $1,400 bonus will be paid to members of unions that have negotiated contracts with the Newfoundland and Labrador government, but is dependent on legislative approval. 

The bonuses had not been included in the budget that was brought down last spring. 

Most bargaining units with NAPE, the province's largest union, ratified a four-year contract earlier this month. 

Dunderdale said the house must pass a supplementary supply bill to come up with the extra cash.

"We would very much like, and the unions and their membership would very much like for us to meet that obligation before Christmas," Dunderdale told CBC News. 

Workers will receive an overall pay raise of five per cent over the life of the contract.