Big pay hike for public servants

President David Granger

…as President announces 9, 8.5% salary increases
…retroactive increases to be tax-free
…overall increase at 77 per cent since the coalition took office

PRESIDENT David Granger announced on Wednesday that public servants earning between $100,000 and $1M will receive an 8.5 per cent increase; those earning less than 100,000, a nine per cent increase and those earning a minimum wage of $64,220 will receive in their December pay cheques $69,336, a sum in excess of their basic salaries.

The Head of State’s announcement came on the heels of an earlier announcement by Minister of Finance Winston Jordan, who stated that the minimum basic salary in the public service will climb from $64,200 to $70,000. All of the increases will be tax-free and will be retroactive to January 1, 2019.

Additionally, Cabinet recommended, also, significant increases in the following allowances for health sector workers: Station Allowances will be increased by over 260 per cent from $2,800 to $10,000; Hinterland allowances will be increased by between 100 per cent and 600 per cent from between $4000 and $12,000 to $24,000; Risk allowance will be increased by nine hundred percent from $500 to $5000; uniform allowance for health sector workers will be increased from $13,000 and $22,135 to $15,000 and $30,000; and On-call allowance for doctors will also be increased.

Happy public servants
The announcement was met with much appreciation from the public which has been receiving annual increases in their wages and salaries consistently since 2015. The increase in the minimum wage represents a nine per cent increase for 2019 and an overall increase of 77 per cent since the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition took office. In an address to the nation on Thursday, the President said that the decisions were made following the November 12 Cabinet meeting, during which Minister Jordan reported on the regular annual review of public servants’ allowances, salaries and wages.

A Georgetown resident thanks Minister of Finance Winston Jordan for a salary increase back in 2018

Through a team of government ministers–including Minister of the Public Service, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley; Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally and Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams – proposals were examined prior with a team from the Guyana Public Service Union, comprising President Patrick Yarde and Vice-president Dawn Gardener.
“The Cabinet has always been concerned about public servants’ working conditions. It has been reviewing and raising the salaries and wages of public servants continuously since 2015. It will continue to pay keen attention to ensuring that emoluments keep abreast of economic changes in society, so that public servants could maintain satisfactory standards of living,” the President stated.

“Public Servants have received annual increases in their wages and salaries consistently since 2015. Personal allowances have increased significantly, the income-tax rate has been reduced and the tax on employees’ contributions to NIS was removed, over the last four years. Special attention was given, also, to certain categories of workers such as teachers, sweeper-cleaners and engineers, among others. Increases in salaries and wages have made a positive impact on the performance of public servants themselves, on their households and on the national economy as a whole.”

Among the thousands who will benefit are teachers, nurses, doctors, members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Guyana Police Force (GPF), the security services and more. After taking office in 2015, the administration increased the minimum wage from $39,540 to $50,000, benefitting over 30,700 in the public sector at the time.

Public servants, who were at the time earning less than $500,000 monthly, received a one-off tax-free bonus of $50,000; those with salaries of more than $50,000 received a five per cent salary increase, while those earning $50,000 or less received an eight per cent increase. In December 2016, public servants earning less than $500,000 per month received a tax-free bonus of $25,000, while those earning $99,000 or less benefitted from a 10 per cent increase; those earning between $100,000 and $299,000 received a six per cent increase; those earning between $300,000 and $799,000 and more.

Meanwhile in 2017, the minimum wage was increased to $60,000. Also, public servants earning between $55,555 and $99,999 received an increase of eight per cent; a six per cent increase to those earning $100,000 to $299,999; five per cent to those earning between $300,000 and $499,999 with smaller increases for those on a higher scale.
In 2018, while no bonus was offered, the government approved increases for all public servants ranging from 0.5 per cent to 7 per cent from $60,000 to 64,000. Public servants who earned up to $100,000 received a 7 per cent increase while public servants that acquired salaries between $100,000 and $299,999 received a 6.5 per cent increase along with smaller increases for those on a higher scale.

On the other hand, it took the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) administration nine years to move the minimum wage from $26,070 in 2006 to $39,570 in 2015. The Head of State said on Thursday: “Public servants provide public goods and services which benefit everyone and every sector of the economy. The APNU+AFC Coalition is committed to creating a proficient, professional, highly-motivated and well-paid Public Service. Your government is committed to good governance and to ensuring that all Guyanese can enjoy the good life.”