Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Nigel Clarke, addressed the Parliament on Tuesday (May 16) providing an update on the compensation restructuring process for the central government employees including Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
He highlighted the progress made in settling salaries for administrative and professional public service workers and stated that the focus will now shift towards addressing the salaries of parliamentarians.
While most public bodies have implemented the compensation restructuring, a few remain due to ongoing implementation processes. The Minister assured that the government is actively supporting these bodies to finalize the process.
Clarke provided a historical overview of how salaries for the Executive and Legislature have been determined in Jamaica. He mentioned that the salaries for the Judiciary are determined by an Independent Commission, as established by the Jamaican Constitution in 1992.
The recommendations of the 10th commission were recently tabled, finalizing the process for the current period.
Regarding the Executive and Legislature, Minister Clarke explained that ad-hoc committees appointed by the Prime Minister determined the salaries until 1989. Since then, a formulaic approach has been used, referencing the salary scale in the civil service.
He further outlined the recommendations made by various committees, such as the Ashenheim Committee in 1972 and the Sasso and Fletcher Committees in 1980 and 1989, respectively. These committees recommended salary adjustments and the establishment of linkages between the salaries of parliamentarians and civil servants.
The Minister provided context for the salary adjustments, acknowledging that the application of the existing framework would lead to significant increases that would attract attention. He emphasized the need to understand the context, thought process, and principles at work.
Minister Clarke clarified that the existing framework, as outlined by the Sasso and Fletcher Committees, will be maintained for the salaries of Cabinet Ministers under the new restructured central government compensation scale.
Minister Clarke highlighted the substantial movement in salary scales for various categories of public service workers due to the public sector restructuring. For example, the salary scales for ancillary supervisors and skilled artisans have experienced gross increases of 247% to 313% between April 1, 2021, and April 1, 2023. Similar changes were seen in other categories, with increases ranging from 200% to 360%, 178% to 230%, 80% to 120%, and 60% to 100% during the same period.