Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Clarke says payroll system working overtime to pay public sector by month end

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2023 | 1:38 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer

Public sector workers who have accepted new pay scales under a reclassification exercise will receive promised monies, including retroactive sums, Finance and the Public Service Minister Dr Nigel Clarke said on Tuesday as he closed the Budget Debate.

He said that despite the late signing of some agreements, the Government’s “fragmented and decentralised payroll system will be working overtime” for the majority to be paid before month end or shortly after.

Among the largest groups to accept the new scheme in the last week is the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF), which represents rank-and-file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The union voted overwhelmingly last Thursday to accept the reclassification and retroactive salaries in a voting exercise which has been under scrutiny since then.

If the JPF puts pen to paper before Friday, at least 95 per cent of public sector workers would have secured retroactive salaries for this salary period.

“We expect that certainly for the groups who have signed, the retroactive payment will be paid this month. It may not come on the 25th, clearly, because a lot of agreements were just signed, and some of them signed today (Tuesday), but we will endeavour that the funds will leave the Consolidated Fund by the end of the month,” Clarke told the House.

In the last two weeks, unions representing district constables, junior doctors, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, legal officers, probation aftercare officers, correctional officers, and teachers have inked deals with the finance ministry.

More than $40 billion in retroactive and other payments will be made. The police, teachers, and doctors will receive about $30 billion.

Clarke expressed thanks to the various unions and staff associations, as well as his ministry staff for efforts made to get the agreements inked as he and the team adopted a deliberate strategy of not holding discussions in public.