Gov’t: No ‘poaching’ workers

Recent changes to Cayman Islands Civil Service Law have led the government to remind its chief officers not to ‘poach’ employees from private sector jobs.

In an interview with the Caymanian Compass, Deputy Head of the Civil Service Peter Gough said the policy against taking work permit holders away from local companies was sort of an unwritten rule with the former Public Service Commission.

Changes to the law which took effect 1 January disbanded the commission, and left hiring and firing decisions largely in the hands of government administrators.

Mr. Gough said a circular was sent out last month to all chief officers as a refresher.

‘Staff that were brought on island on a work permit where the employer had paid all the passage and costs of setting up a staff member, the idea is (government) would not do that,’ said Mr. Gough.

In exceptional circumstances, Cayman Islands Chief Secretary George McCarthy can give permission for government to recruit a private sector worker. However, that agreement must be discussed with the Chief Immigration Officer and a letter of release must be obtained from the current employer.

Mr. Gough said he knew of no recent increase in government hiring private sector employees.

He also insisted that the recent circular was not sent out as a means to prevent or discourage chief officers from hiring expatriate workers who may be nearing the end of their seven year term limit. Government employees are currently not subject to the Cayman Islands term limit on residency, better known as the rollover policy.

‘People that want to stay would feel that government is a safe haven, because it doesn’t have a rollover policy,’ Mr. Gough said. ‘That’s obviously an issue where you have a policy for the private sector, and a different policy for civil servants.’

He did acknowledge that private companies do not have to play by the same rules when looking at hiring government workers.

‘They see the opportunities in the private sector, and they’re obviously going to be attracted. We have no issue with that. If they’re going to move, they’re going to move.’

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