Changes expected to take effect April 1; Minister Clarke says employees might actually see higher net pay as result
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — The government plans to implement major changes in public sector compensation as of next month, according to Minister of Finance and the Public Service Nigel Clarke.
During debate on the 2022/23 budget in the House of Assembly, Clarke explained how too many salary scales, too many salary allowances, varying tax-free benefits and unfair pension payments have negatively impacted public service workers in the long-run.
As such, he said the compensation adjustments, which will cost an estimated JMD$100 billion over the next three years, will be a boon to employees.
“Today, I want to address the restructuring of public sector compensation, which is an ambitious and complex, yet necessary, reform,” Clarke said.
“We depend on public services everyday — taking the bus, using the roads, accessing hospitals and schools, paying government fees and taxes, applying for licenses and permits, collecting PATH (Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education) payments and NIS (National Insurance Scheme), public sector pensions and more…
“One thing they have in common is that they all believe that they are not adequately or fairly compensated. This is a problem.
“But it is also true that if you poll members of the Jamaican public, a vast majority will tell you that they are dissatisfied with the level of public service they receive. This is also a problem.
“We have to address both problems, and that is what we propose to do.”
Better compensation; better performance
Minister Clarke said the new public sector compensation system will be simple and easily understood; fair and equitable; sustainable and affordable; and will recognize and reward performance.
This, he added, will help to address perceptions of inequity and the often-accompanying negative attitudes and low morale.
He also sought to assure public service workers that “no public sector employee’s net pay will be lower as a result of the new compensation system”.
“In fact, every public sector employee’s net pay will be higher as a result of the new compensation system,” he noted.
However, the minister also cautioned, “Let me also be very clear on another matter. Once we begin implementing the restructuring of compensation, Jamaicans will also expect more from the public sector, and rightly so because it is taxpayer money that is paying those salaries.
“They will expect more from their civil servants and ministers. They will expect more from their parliamentarians. They will expect more from the public sector.”