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Cost implications impact public officers’ appointment date

Government may not be able to apply public officers’ years of service prior to their date of appointment within the Public Service for pensionable purposes due to the cost implications.

This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Public Administration (DPA), Lyndonna Hillaire-Marshall during The Bubb Report on Sunday.

The call for this to be considered has been consistently made by the Public Workers Union (PWU) president Brian Grimes, who said it’s a concern for workers. He shared at a recent media briefing that recently temporary workers were issued appointment letters by the Public Service Commission (PSC) where their appointment date was back dated. However, those letters were withdrawn and re-issued where their appointment date is of August 01, 2023; thus, their prior years of service were not factored in.

However, while speaking on the regularisation process that is underway, the PS acknowledged that the DPA is aware that for pension calculation, one’s appointment date is crucial. “We do know that your first date of appointment, as well as where you are in terms of your scale upon retirement, are factors that need to be considered.”

With the regularisation process being done in phases until 2025, phase one, which ends by the end of the year, looks at 300 workers in temporary positions, acting on assignments and probationary statuses.

PS Hillaire-Marshall said, “…we are looking at what the [PSC] rules say with regards to probation,” where the appointment dates for those on probation will vary based on when they started.

Nevertheless, for officers on temporary positions, which in some cases span over 10 years, the PS said “we are looking at it in terms of the cost [although] cost is not the only implication.”

She explained, “We are considering for people who are temporary, their appointment dates and how this can affect their pension. We know that if we think about appointing people all the way back, it is going to have serious cost implications for the government. So the thinking is, we are going to appoint people current, ensuring those persons’ movement within the scale is considered, so on the current appointment they are going to be receiving the salaries that they are due as of now. But, we may not be able to go back all the years to pay the retroactive given the cost.”

The PS added, “Understanding that this has implications for the paying of the pension, we are looking to compromise and join those services so that those persons’ dates will be considered in the calculation for pension.”

President Grimes during the briefing expressed disappointment that the union was not actively involved in the regularisation consultations, to raise workers’ concerns on this matter. However, the PS

said the DPA’s doors remain open to the union to discuss on any issue or concern as it arises.

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