Progressive increase over three years, says Maladina
THERE will be progressive annual pay increases for public servants averaging 7.5% each year for the next three years.
Minister for Public Service Moses Maladina said in a statement that “the government is aware of the plight of the lowest paid staff and the need to award greater percentage/higher cash increases in lower pay grades” but keeping within the overall budgetary constraint.
The minister also announced that, in a separate cabinet decision, fringe benefits for senior officers on senior management contracts in the public service had been significantly increased.
He said the increases were to reduce the pay differences between senior officers and their departmental heads and to attract and retain experienced and competent senior officers in the public service.
One of the most highly-sought and bitterly-fought issues, housing, had been refused by government.
Housing, it would seem, was not a condition of employment in the public service.
Maladina offered, instead, to increase and enhance opportunities to enter into public service home ownership allowances.
Maladina said: “The government will not accept responsibility for the payment of across-the-board housing allowances, as housing is not a condition of employment in the public service.
“Furthermore, not all public servants pay rent or provide accommodation for their families.
“The government is prepared to enhance the payment of public service home ownership allowances for those staff at all levels who are eligible to enter government-sponsored home ownership schemes.”
Maladina’s statement followed acting Prime Minister Sam Abal’s announcement last Thursday that the public service pay bill would get a huge pay increase across the board of an additional K100 million.
The government approved pay awards covering all public servants including teachers and uniformed disciplined services.
There would be flow-on increases awarded to other state services and government agencies so that the whole public sector could be catered for in this year’s personnel emoluments budget.
Maladina said the government’s move was aimed at enhancing productivity, performance and pay in government-funded organisations.
The overarching strategy would:
*Achieve a more rigourous system for management of performance and discipline utilising performance-based contracts for agency heads and their senior staff, with accountability from the top down;
*Ensure there was careful prioritised management of organisational establishments, manpower and personnel emoluments against budget ceilings to stabilise/reduce unit costs and report non-conforming agencies to NEC;
*Upgrade staff competencies and management abilities through locally-based staff development programmes and graduate development programmes promoting public sector workforce development programes through the PNG Institute of Public Administration and other accredited training institutions; and
*Award fair, equitable and affordable pay increases related to staff expectations, based on job size and work performance, to meet rising living costs against a backdrop of rising levels of economic growth and budgetary affordability.
With regard to income tax, he said he would respond to the demands of public sector unions and agencies by making representation to the minister for finance and treasury to bring to his attention the plight of the lowest paid and the need for the government to review the level of income tax threshold, noting that such a move would benefit all taxpayers proportionately.
According to the statement, Maladina said the Department of Personnel Management had advanced its review of the Public Services (Management) Act, general orders and the code of conduct to enhance performance and productivity, improve and instill discipline and strengthen ethical conduct in the public service.
He said the significant pay rise over the next three years must be returned to the public in greater productivity and efficiency.
Maladina also announced that revised senior management contracts would be executed between the personnel management secretary, other departmental heads and senior officers employed in government departments and agencies.