PAC hears of unqualified contract employees under APNU+AFC, refusal to transition to pensionable establishment

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Permanent Secretary (PS) at the Office of the President Abena Moore on Monday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that a policy in 2017/2018 to have all government contracted employees placed on the pensionable establishment is no longer being enforced.

Persons currently on contract are instead allowed to stay on contract and are only transitioned to the pensionable establishment at their request.

Moore made the statement during the examination of the 2017 and 2018 Auditor-General Report for the Office of the Prime Minister where she previously served as PS; she said the policy by the former APNU+AFC David Granger administration was not successful because many contract employees were not duly qualified to be transitioned.

“Some were reluctant to go on the fixed establishment and we had challenges, whereas persons weren’t qualified,” Moore said.

She also said that officers were faced with a reluctance which gave rise to legal breaches to the contracts.

Moore further explained that persons are now able to decide after a year or three on their respective contracts whether they would like to transition.

“We made efforts to transition once they are willing but some persons on contract were unqualified for some of these pensionable positions.”

In fact, Moore and the now PS for the Office of the Prime Minister Derrick Cummings confirmed that the number of contracted employees has grown in the last two years. This is so because of the expanded portfolio of the Office.

The Office of the Prime Minister has 30 contract employees currently, up from 15 at the end of 2018.

Moore said there is a circular advising all persons below 45 of the decision by the current administration to allow them to remain on contract if they so desire.

Nonetheless, Permanent Secretaries have been engaging contract employees who are not qualified for the transition to upgrade their resumes if they are desirous of going to the pensionable establishment, Moore assured.

She said, in large measure, the only difference between a contract employee and someone on the pensionable establishment is the twice-yearly gratuity. The salaries are similar for the same positions and tasks.

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