Tue | Sep 26, 2023

HRMAJ wants parliamentarians to be paid based on satisfactory performance

Published:Wednesday | May 31, 2023 | 12:14 AM

Amid the ongoing pushback against the recent salary increases which have been granted to Jamaica’s political representatives, the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica (HRMAJ) is recommending that 30 per cent of parliamentarians’ total compensation should be based on their level of performance in office.

In a release sent out on Wednesday, May 24, HRMAJ Vice President Michael McAnuff-Jones urged the Government to clearly and satisfactorily address lingering questions around how the levels of salary increase were calculated.

“We believe as an association that compensation design, which is part of the craft of our practice, should take into account the imperatives of internal equity and external equity. Is there a reliable and robust system for performance assessment of parliamentarians and members of the [political] executive? What ability-to-pay metrics were used to determine sustainable levels of increase?” asked McAnuff-Jones.

“HRMAJ recommends the following, that 30 per cent of the total compensation of parliamentarians and the Cabinet ministers be variable and paid only on satisfactory or better performance, [and also] that performance assessment for parliamentarians and the executive branch be based on key measurable performance indicators as well as behavioural assessments, for example, communication standards in Parliament and with the public,” McAnuff-Jones added.

There has been significant backlash across various sectors following Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s announcement on May 16 of the new salary scales for the political directorate under the public sector compensation review, with the increase surging above 200 per cent.

Additionally, calls have intensified for Prime Minister Andrew Holness to retract the announced salary increases for all members of the political directorate, even after he announced that he would be declining his own salary increase. Holness’ increase would have raised his salary from $9.16 million to $28.5 million over a period between April 1, 2022 and April 1, 2024.

Other recommendations from the HRMAJ include a proper assessment of political representatives’ past track record to justify their continued service.

“Section 6 of the Jamaica Labour Relations Code says that ‘the worker has an obligation to his employer to perform his contract to the best of his ability...to the nation by ensuring his dedication to the principle of productive work for the good of all.’ In this regard, we encourage the Government to ensure that role assignments are assessed to include the candidates’ aspirations and ability to serve effectively as a part of the selection criteria, taking into account technical, behavioural and ethical track records,” the HRMAJ release advised.