Compensation restructuring sign-off nears completion
FINANCE MINISTER Dr Nigel Clarke yesterday said that almost all allocations under the Government’s compensation restructuring programme have been met, as the island reaches the last day of the 2022-23 fiscal year. Clarke was responding to questions...
FINANCE MINISTER Dr Nigel Clarke yesterday said that almost all allocations under the Government’s compensation restructuring programme have been met, as the island reaches the last day of the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Clarke was responding to questions posed by this newspaper following the launch of the Transformation Implementation Unit (TIU) Public Sector Debate Competition at the Spanish Court Hotel yesterday.
There, he gave an address commending the argumentative nature of Jamaicans as he wished competitors of the debate all the best.
“For central government, allocations in respect of the compensation restructuring for the 2022-23 year have all been disbursed from the Consolidated Fund for all groups with whom we have reached agreements, except for allocation related to two groups that signed today (March 31 and March 30). These groups total less than 300 persons,” Clarke said.
“We use a rough estimate of 100,000 employees in central government, and of this total, the number of employees in groups with whom we have not yet reached an agreement is less than 1,000,” he continued.
“This means we achieved a 99 per cent agreement rate prior to the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year, and a 99.7 per cent payout ratio for groups with whom we have reached agreements,” Clarke explained.
The two outstanding groups, he identified, are education officers and superintendents of juvenile institutions. The latter, he said, contained only eight people.
The central government refers to the core ministries and their departments, while Clarke explained that public bodies, which are made up of agencies outside of the central government – for example, the National Housing Trust (NHT) – have also signed on for the most part.
“There are approximately 140 public bodies with approximately 10,000 employees. Of this number, 125 public bodies have implemented the 2022-23 phase of the compensation restructuring,” he said. “The remaining bodies are mostly the commercial and highly specialised entities for which settlement is expected in the next fiscal year.”
In recent months, the compensation review has been a sore point for various public sector workers, including teachers, firefighters, police, nurses and dental assistants, among others. Many took to the streets demanding better working conditions and pay from the authorities.
This clamour escalated as the fiscal year drew to a close, leaving some restless. Payments and benefits, he said, were among the primary push factors for persons leaving government sector jobs, and the restructuring programme was the Government’s response to the heavy attrition rates.
In the meantime, Clarke said that as part of the restructuring initiative, the Government is piloting a shared services initiative aimed at streamlining usually contentious issues across sectors. This will minimise the replication of services.
Already shared services have been piloted in human resources, internal auditing, and payroll. Heading into next year, the Government is hoping to establish a shared services department for the entire public service sector.
“Payroll in the Government is highly fragmented and distributive. When we have problems in payroll, the Ministry of Finance gets the blame and yours truly takes the hits. But payroll is not in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, it is across governments,” said Clarke, noting that there are some 200 payroll departments and 13 payroll information technology systems in the public service.
This makes things far less efficient and impactful, he said.
“So part of the transformation initiative is to bring all ministries, departments and agencies on to a single payroll enterprise. We have made tremendous progress in that regard with a system called ‘MyHR+’, and as of today we have over 60 ministries, departments and agencies that use this enterprise.”
Here, he said, individuals will have access to job letters and details about their leave entitlements, among other services that would otherwise take a long time.