SALARY HIKE SOON

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Minister of Finance, Hon. Winston Jordan.

…Jordan says gov’t focussed on bringing salary levels up to acceptable standards

MINISTER of Finance, Winston Jordan, on Thursday, said salary increases for public servants will be announced soon.

“Salary increase for 2019 will be announced shortly,” Minister Jordan said. However, he said bonuses will not be issued to public servants as was done in the past. “There’s no provision for bonus this year or foreseeable future. What the government is trying to do is to rapidly bring salaries and other benefits to a level that befits jobs. For 2020, that subject awaits elections,” he said in a statement.

His statement came one day after President David Granger said the Finance Minister would advise the Cabinet as to whether government would be paying an end-of-year bonus to public servants.

However, the Head of State explained that as a result of the no-confidence motion passed against his government in the National Assembly last December, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has restricted the administration from embarking on expenditures or agreements which are likely to collide with the convention of an interim government. Government, he said, has accepted that it is now in an interim mode, and, as such, has not signed onto any major agreement.

Since taking office in May 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Government has offered public servants both bonuses and wage increases. In December 2015, public servants, who were at the time earning less than $500,000 monthly, received a one-off tax-free bonus of $50,000. Additionally, public servants whose gross basic monthly salaries were more than $50,000 received a five per cent salary increase; while those with salaries equal to or lower than $50,000 were given an eight per cent increase. The minimum basic salary of $39,540 was also lifted to $50,000, effective July 1, 2015. At the time, more than 30,700 public sector workers, among them nurses, teachers, members of the Disciplined Services and semi-autonomous agencies, benefitted from the bonus.

In December 2016, the government paid a one-off, tax-free bonus of $25,000 to all public servants who are earning less than $500,000 per month. In October that year, public servants who were earning $99,000 or less benefitted from a 10 per cent increase; while persons who were earning between $100,000 and $299,000 were offered six per cent increase. Public servants who were earning between $300,000 and $799,000 were offered five per cent increase while those who were earning between $800,000 and $999,000 were given a two per cent increase. Those earning more than $1M at the time were given a one per cent salary increase.

Meanwhile in 2017, approximately 14,000 public servants benefitted from a $3.5B payout when government increased their wages and salaries, while increasing the minimum wage to $60,000. In addition to increasing the minimum wage, public servants who were earning between $55,555 and $99,999 received an increase of eight per cent, while a six per cent increase was offered to persons earning $100,000 to $299,999. Public servants who were earning between $300,000 and $499,999 received a five per cent increase while those who earned $500,000 to $699,999 got a four per cent increase. Those who were within the $700,000 to $799,999 bracket received a two per cent increase. For those who earned $800,000 to $1M, a 0.5 per cent increase was offered to them.

Though it offered no Christmas bonus in 2018, the government approved increases for all public servants ranging from 0.5 per cent to seven per cent. Public servants who earned up to $100,000 received a seven per cent increase while public servants that acquired salaries between $100,000 and $299,999 received a 6.5 per cent increase. Public servants whose salaries ranged between $300,000 and $499.999 at the time, received a five per cent increase; those that fall within the $500,000 to $699,999 bracket received three per cent increase; $700,000 to $799,999 – two per cent increase; $800,000 to $999,999 – one per cent; and those who were earning one million dollars and above received a 0.5 per cent increase.