Unfair pay to be addressed in public sector

| 27/11/2015 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin in LA (Photo by
Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): In its final budget before the 2017 election, government will be addressing inequities in salaries of civil servants that have emerged as a result of years of pay freezes. During the 18-month fiscal period from June 2016 to the end of 2017, a pay rise programme will be rolled out in phases for government workers, starting with teachers, officials have said. A combination of  “prolonged austerity” and pay freezes on existing employees, regardless of their personal and educational development or their excellent performance, led to unfair pay, which the premier wants to address.

Delivering the Strategic Policy Statement on Wednesday, Finance Minister Marco Archer said that some of the $14.4 million of additional spending in his last budget would be used to finance the salary increases.

Public sector pay has been controlled by strict policies for many years. As at 30 June 2015, more than one third of civil servants were suffering from pay stagnation, with no increase in their wage packets for over seven years. Over the last five years almost half have had no hike in pay. This means that in some cases experienced government staff members are earning less than those who are new to the service but in the same or similar roles, having negotiated higher pay and benefits packages at the start.

This has resulted in sometimes pronounced disparities been existing staff and new hires, according to a press release from the premier’s office.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, the premier said he was happy to say that steps were finally being taken to address the issue. “The government has commenced a phased approach to this problem. Starting in the current financial year, teachers will be the first to see pay increases to remedy pay stagnation,” he said.

Teachers whose pay has not increased for three or more years and who have received favourable performance evaluations will receive between one to three increments, based upon how long their salaries have been frozen.

“While government wishes it could do more to reward its staff, it is important to recognise that programmes have been deployed in a consistent, sensible and sustainable manner. We cannot fix everything in this term. In the coming financial year, we will continue to support the civil service while still holding it accountable to achieve favourable results on behalf of the people of the Cayman Islands,” McLaughlin said. “The government has taken a responsible approach to restoring the fiscal health of the country and it has shared the fruits of this success with those who have helped to make it possible.”

He said he took “great comfort in knowing” that the civil service has a proven track record for meeting challenges head-on and workers had responded when faced with the call to “do more with less”.

The headcount has gradually declined, and as a result of numerous austerity measures aimed at reducing personnel costs, each year human resources costs have come in below the approved budget, thus contributing millions of dollars toward the government’s more recent budget surpluses.

Government, the premier said, recognised the achievements and sacrifices by public sector workers, as well as their efforts to control expenses. The June 2014 one-off 2.5% honorarium was in recognition of their efforts, as well as the return of the cost of living allowance at a slightly higher rate of 4%.

Some wage levels have already been under review in the 2013-2014 year. The Immigration Department went through a process of job evaluations, which resulted in pay increases for its officers. In the current financial year 2014-2015, other uniformed positions have also been evaluated. As a result of favourable job evaluations, customs officers have received pay increases and similar increases are currently being made to police officers, though Police Commissioner David Baines recently revealed he was funding that by not filling more than 30 vacancies in the service

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (36)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For teachers who have worked at the top of their pay scale for 15 plus years, there is no raise. Is this fair? I doubt it.

    • Anonymous says:

      For 15 plus years I was no where near the top of the scale. This was the purpose of the pay raise. To level the playing field. I wished we all could have received an increase, but there were some teachers well below fair payment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone would deserve a pay raise after 15 years (or just get rid of them).
        Many other civil servants (apart from uniformed staff) have NOT received anything, in spite of many years of good service, from these recent raises.

    • linda says:

      I am so proud of Premier and Deputy Governor for their leadership. So many great things are happening

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sixteen new positions in that hive of human activity, Cayman Brac (z-z-z-z), have been created according to Moses -in Cayman Airways (which we subsidise) and the Fire Service (which has even less fires than Grand Cayman). The expansion of the public service continues unabated. And we pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can it be confirmed that the minimum wage of CI$6.00 per hour will take effect 1st March 2016 or does it still have to go through the LA? Are they also going forward with the hour forward in March 2016? They stated 10 months to prepare for the business owners, but todate nothing has been mentioned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Brackers = welfare junkies

    • Anonymous says:

      Grand Cayman pays for the welfare state of Cayman Brac. The Brac should lose all subsidies and pay its own way.

  3. Jotnar says:

    The surplus budgets have been achieved by constantly increasing the tax burden on the private sector to feed the ever expanding civil service, and even that’s not been enough to staunch the constantly expanding pension and health care contingent liability. You may shop at Fosters, but you sure as hell don’t pay for your medical insurance, don’t pay for work permits, don’t put in the hours or have the accountability that the private sector does, and have a job for life. I would believe the bit about hard work being rewarded if it were accompanied by examples of those who don’t work hard – or at all – being fired.

    • Kenny says:

      Jotnar….what planet are you living on? The government has not raised taxes in 3 years and will not again next year. That’s four year of no new revenue measures and instead reducing the cost of living. But still we are a achieving surplus budgets. You must be jealous that you don’t work for an organisation that is achieving greatness and is taking care of their employees.

      Look at the facts

      Cruise ship pier started
      Airport redevlopment started
      Landfill solution started
      Performance management improved
      Customer service improvements started
      More E services started
      EY Report. All recommendations actioned
      Not one civil service entity received an adverse or disclaimer option on 13 14 accounts
      Succession planning. Improved
      Key senior posts filled

      Okay and you have the nerve to complain thank you Premier and Deputy Governor we are proud.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanian unemployment, dump is getting taller, crime seems to be increasing, cronies getting big contracts, etc. I wouldn’t think so highly of your PPM if I were you. 2017 can’t come soon enough!

      • Jotnar says:

        Facts eh? All the EY report’s recommendations “actioned”? Well, if you count ignoring them “actioning” them I guess. Otherwise that statement is simply not true. As for the “started” or “improved”‘s, I’ll reserve my thanks and appreciation for “achieved” or “completed” – bit like the little school project the PPM “started” during their last term in office.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What is unfair is that so much is wasted on their pay and the politicians lacked the backbone to do anything about it. The civil service is in large part a vote buying welfare programme.

  5. Anonymous says:

    wonderland stuff….
    while ignoring e&y and miller shaw….the ppm will now engage in a costly vote buying excercise….

    • Debbie says:

      But all the EY recommendations were actioned and are bring taking forward. Come on these posts are just plain dumb now. Find another negative comment besides EY report. ….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, they’ve already lost many good Caymanians who left after their expatriate counterparts got raises at every contract renewal while they were stuck at the same grade for almost a decade even with positive annual reviews. For them its too little too late, and I wonder how it took this long for management to recognize and address the issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Those of us who understand the politics knew that this more is the only one that Alden can make with the hope of his government being re elected. It can’t help him. Besides, he needs to repay those high ranking civil servants who were onboard with him in their failed attempt to destroy McKeeva Bush.

    • Anonymous says:

      As an expat civil servant I can assure you that I have NEVER had a pay rise at contract renewal and neither have any others I know of….just rumours….new hire expats have been able to negotiate higher salaries than existing civil servants, expat and Caymanian alike.

      • Bollocks says:

        I am a full blooded expat, been here since 2005.
        I have never had any raises only cuts.
        I have seen others get raises for such reasons as their car repayments have increased.
        I see blatant divisiveness and transparent racism in your post.

        • Anonymous says:

          Racism and divisiveness in my post? The one immediately above yours? My post was stating that we are all in the same position, as an Expat I have had no pay rises and rumours that expats have are just that – rumours. Meanwhile new hires who are Caymanian and Expat have been able to negotiate higher rates, whether they replace or work alongside an Expat or a Caymanian, no racism or divisiveness intended, most Caymanians have had no pay rises either. I was just trying to address the point that the pay rise on contract renewal is a myth.

        • Anonymous says:

          Expats GO Home! Your not wanted here!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Nonsense of the highest order. Everyday racism.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “While government wishes it could do more to reward its staff,” but because of massive concessions to mega rich develops we have no money!

    • SSM345 says:

      Without concessions for big developers, there would be no development you dimwit. Its not because of said concessions that we are broke, its because of excessive unaccounted for spending by our Government over the last however many Administrations. Do you actually pay attention to anything that goes on in Cayman?

  8. Brain wave says:

    Thank you Premier. The civil service has consistently delivered surplus budgets, while taking pay cuts, frozen salary increments and no cost of living adjustments for years now. It’s time for their hard work to be rewarded. Yes we agree the civil service is not perfect. But they have one things in common with the private sector workers who get huge bonuses and increases in salary every year ..that one thing is that we all shop at fosters.

    Thank you Premier the civil service is most greatful.

    I hope everyone does note that both the premier and deputy governor has stated that these new salary awards will be based on performance

    Well done all around.

    • Anonymous says:

      It´s not so great in the private sector either. My company (a well established firm) literally gave me a raise of pay last year of under KYD$25.00 per month. That is nothing yet they claim it is in line with COL. The raise of pays I´ve gotten at my current job have always been under 1% and it appears to be across the board except for management of course. They reap all the benefits and delegate all the work.

    • Anonymous says:

      I commend him for making the wage increase performance based but we all know the greater majority of CS workers are over paid and under worked. 20+ sick days per annum (with full pay), tardiness everyday, 2 hour lunches when they feel and just being unprofessional does not make one worthy of a raise no matter how many years served. Many of them feel because they have been ¨loyal¨ to the CS it warrants poor work ethic, big bonuses and pay increase. SMH You already escape paying pension and health which is a big slap in the face to private sector workers who actually pay their salaries and still have to contribute to their own pension/health insurance.

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