Junior civil servants headed for higher pay in job review

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Job's review
President Uhuru Kenyatta, flanked by the chairperson, Salaries and Remuneration Commission, Ms Sarah Serem, launches the Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Policy document in Nairobi, on June 5, 2015. Looking on from left are Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning, Anne Waiguru, Deputy Chief Justice, Justice KalpanaRawal and Deputy Governor Kiambu County, Gerald Githinji. PHOTO | PSCU

Thousands of junior civil servants earning low salaries may be some of the biggest winners at the end of a job evaluation programme launched on Friday.

But their seniors who enjoy hefty perks have been excluded from any increment and some of their allowances scrapped.

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The job evaluation, to be conducted by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), is part of the new Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Policy.

It will lead to harmonisation of pay to bring equity and fairness in the service.

This is also expected to culminate in improved service delivery and better management of public resources, according to SRC.

Speaking at the launch of the review at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the exercise will involve all public sector employees, including those in the parastatals.

“The successful implementation of the policy and results of the evaluation exercise will determine effective management of remuneration in this country which is a key factor in achieving Vision 2030 goals and the aspirations of our Constitution,” said the President.

He said the aim of the exercise was ‘‘to harmonise and streamline pay and benefits in the public sector with a view to ensuring that public money is managed in an effective, efficient and prudent manner.”

In an effort to tame the ballooning wage bill, the policy recommends that the government freezes ‘‘the growth in remuneration and benefit levels of employees who are already earning disproportionately high salaries until realignment is done.”

According to the policy, SRC will also harmonise allowances and benefits across the public sector with some allowances set to be abolished.

Although the document does not say which job groups may gain or lose once implementation begins, low cadre employees like drivers, clerks, cleaners, messengers, among others are likely to earn better pay while high earners like Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, among others are the likely losers.

“The remuneration system will support professional and career progression that enables a work force that is motivated to contribute to national output,” the policy states.


According to a recent study on allowances payable to public servants conducted by audit firm Deloitte for SRC, some public servants earned allowances which were more than 50 or 90 per cent of their basic pay.

This is in sharp contrast to countries like Malaysia, Uganda, Tanzania, India, Rwanda and Ghana which have pegged their allowances at a maximum of 30 per cent of basic pay.

In the 2013/14 financial year for example, Sh37 billion was spent on house allowances for civil servants, which was the single highest consumer of the budget.

The rates payable ranged from Sh3,000 for those in job group A and Sh150,000 per month for those in job group U. Some public servants were paid up to seven types of allowances.

Civil servants in job groups T-U also enjoyed a domestic servant allowance of Sh15, 600 and Sh30, 000 per month.

The report further indicated that a public servant in job group S drew a house allowance of Sh80, 000 while one in job group A and B both earned Sh3,000, a huge disparity.

While the number of public servants has grown by about 3 per cent per year over the last five years, the public sector wage bill has grown at an average annual rate of 20.9 per cent over the same period.

Speaking during the launch, Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru said the government would ensure that the policy was implemented to improve the quality of service given to Kenyans.
SRC chairperson Sarah Serem said the commission was committed to transforming the public service.

She said wage bill reduction was difficult in the short term but once this is managed, it would bring sanity in the country’s economic management over the long term.


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