Gov’t assures public servants that 3-month wait for salaries being addressed
During a Parliamentary debate on Thursday that sought to tackle the long wait new entrants into the public service endure before they receive their first salaries, Subject Minister Sonia Parag assured the House that the government was addressing the issue.
As a matter of practice, new public servants have had to work three consecutive months before receiving their first salary.
The debate to abolish this decades-old practice arose out of a motion tabled by former Minister of Public Service Tabitha Sarabo- Halley in which she called for these payments to commence from the first month of employment.
Sarabo-Halley regarded the three months wait to get on the payroll as despicable and said she has found no rule or policy that substantiates this.
“The million-dollar question that no one seems to be able to answer is: why?”
“Why this is normal, common, or ethical,” she quizzed while also claiming that there are persons who were not paid for longer than three months; she said in one instance a public servant waited an entire year.
But Parag during her presentation said no wait time is intentional and explained that time was necessary for the multi-agency arrangement to get persons onto the payroll.
In the interim, however, she said accommodations are being made to ensure persons get salary advances or are placed on a temporary employment arrangement to get their salaries.
Parag said Sarabo-Halley is well aware of the challenges because although she sought to address it while being Minister of Public Service in 2019 it was never done.
“The government does not want to see public servants wait three months or even two months but there is a process.
“I am in the driving seat at the moment and I know what is factually happening. So don’t bring hearsay to the House… for every public servant we have tried within a timely manner to get those persons’ salaries in the multi-agency collaboration,” Parag said.
She regarded it as “interesting” that the APNU+AFC Coalition Opposition has brought the motion when between 2015 and 2019 they sat in government and did nothing.
“Let’s get our facts straight before we come here and claim that the government does not care, this absolute rubbish.
“We are going to work collaboratively to ensure that within a reasonable time frame after the request has been sent, to get persons their salaries.”
Parag told the Assembly that she absolutely agrees no public servant should wait three months before being paid and assured those public servants that where bottlenecks exist, the government will address those.