Officers in non-essential services receive half salaries

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PUBLIC servants in non-essential services in the government have confirmed receiving half salary this week.

Island Sun has interviewed some of them and they confirmed seeing half-salary on their pay slips.

Ministry of Finance and Treasury Permanent Secretary, Makini Dentana could not give further comments but said the half salaries do not apply to essential services.

Most of the public servants on half salaries are likely to depend on loan sharks to survive in Honiara or involve in small income activities to earn money.

However, it is going to be a challenge for them especially with the high standard of living in the city.

“Some will get as little as $30 in their pay packets. Others will get zero,” one Government insider said.

Island Sun understand some officers in non-essential services were recalled by their relevant ministries last week.

However, it is not sure if they are going to receive full salaries or half salaries.

The 50 percent pay cut which comes into force today for all public servants was first announced by the Government on March 31 as a move to help ease the financial hardships on the government as a result of the potential risks from the intrusion of the covid-19 virus.

Cabinet made the decision on March 26 and instructed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service to advise all public servants of the move.

At the time public servants in the non-essential services were authorised to take emergency paid leave from March 31 until further notice.

They were also advised that after 30-day leave, their salaries would be halved until they were recalled to resume official duties.

On resumption of duties, full salaries would be reinstated. The 50 percent salary withheld during emergency leave would also be repaid in full.

Only salaries of non-established employees at levels 1 and 2 shall continue to be paid in full whether they have taken emergency leave or not.

Public Officers taking emergency leave shall be supported with a travelling assistance of $2,500 as a one-off payment irrespective of their destinations.

Essential Services ministries and agencies will continue their normal work but have been advised to adhere to all occupational health and safety measures in the course of their duties.

Any essential services officers who may have serious pre-existing health conditions are being advised to consult their respective responsible officers if they wished to take emergency leave.

Executive and senior management level – Permanent Secretaries, Under Secretaries, Directors, Financial Controllers and Human Resource Managers have been instructed to work from home to maintain communication.

Public officers are also encouraged to continue to seek God’s guidance as the country journeys through uncharted waters ahead created by the threat from covid-19 pandemic.