The Jamaican government announced plans in May to significantly increase the salaries of its current political directorate. The salary changes would take effect April 1, 2024. The decision has sparked considerable debate and anger among those affected.
Funds paid to members of the political directorate include such things as housing and phone allowances. Those were discontinued in April 2022. Proponents of the salary increases say the framework and formula for calculating government salaries hasn’t been changed in 30 years and its necessary to attract and retain qualified and experienced individuals to the bureaucracy of government
The following are 10 truths everyone should know about public sector salaries in Jamaica.
1. The increases fall under the restructured public sector compensation system enacted by government.
2. The raises would represent an increase of over 200 percent in many instances.
3. Salary increases would apply to members of Parliament (PMs) and Cabinet ministers among others.
4. The finance minister’s salary in 2021 was $7.4 million and is currently $21.7 million as of April 1, 2023. It would increase to $24.6 million, effective April 2024.
5. Cabinet members who made $6.9 million in 2021, saw their pay increase to $20.2 million in April 2023 and it will be $22.9 million in 2024.
6. The prime minister’s pay increased from $9.2 million in 2021 to $25.2 million in 2023, and will jump to $28.5 in 2024.
7. Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declined to cash in on the salary increase.
8. The decision by Holness will impact former prime ministers since pensions of former prime ministers are determined by the salary of the sitting prime minister.
9. The restructured public sector compensation system encompasses 325 salary scales and about 185 allowances for fields ranging from health care, veterinary services and legal officers to police, probation officers and teachers.
10. The measure hasn’t been favourably received by everyone affected, most notably by teachers and police, who have said it doesn’t reflect the education, training, sacrifices and role that public sector workers play in a healthy Jamaican society. Many are calling for the formula by which salaries are calculated to be made public.