The governor’s office will have the final say over which civil servants will be exempt from a new seven-year term limit policy for non-Caymanian government employees.
Governor Stuart Jack announced at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday a term limit policy, almost the same as the one in place for the private sector, would be applied to the civil servants. Currently, government employees are exempt from the seven-year rollover policy.
‘Clearly there is an argument for the equity of treatment between private sector and public sector employees,’ Mr. Jack said after the luncheon, adding that the rollover policy for government employees would mirror the existing one for the private sector as much as possible.
As such, Mr. Jack said the government’s rollover policy would also have provisions very similar to the Immigration Law with respect to employees designated key by their employers. Under the Immigration Law, key employees can get work permits for nine years, long enough to qualify to apply for permanent residence after eight years.
However, instead having an Immigration Board decide which employees can be designated key, the Governor – on the recommendation of an advisory committee – will.
Mr. Jack said the advisory committee would look at each department and civil servant individually.
‘It will come up with conclusions and make recommendations to me,’ he said, explaining that under Cayman’s constitution, only the governor is empowered to make such decisions.
Mr. Jack said all of the details of the arrangement had not yet been worked out, including when the new policy would commence.
A review team has been established to gather more information and consult with chief officers and other managers before finalising the policy.
Mr. Jack said the rollover policy for civil servants would be applied in a way that ensures government would be able to continue to operate effectively and that the civil servants are treated fairly.
‘We will allow plenty of time for people to make their plans,’ he said.
It is possible that some categories of civil servants, such as teachers, could be deemed exempt from the rollover policy, Mr. Jack said.
All non-Caymanian civil servants would be subject to the rollover policy unless they were exempted. Mr. Jack said the policy would be retroactive in the sense that the counting of a civil servant’s term would start from when he or she first began working in the Islands.
The Portfolio of the Civil Service issued a press release after the governor made his announcement at the Chamber luncheon.
Chief Secretary George McCarthy said in the press release that it was important to take a careful and considered approach with respect to term limits for civil servants.
‘The Government accepts that this is a regulatory immigration issue; however, Government also has other roles to play and other perspectives to consider. As an employer and as a business owner, the bottom line is that we have to ensure that we have the capacity and capability to maintain the level of services the public needs and expects,’ he said.
Chief Officer (Designate) of the Portfolio of the Civil Service Mary Rodriques said the rollover policy for civil servants would make workforce and succession planning critical.
‘The Portfolio of the Civil Service is currently finalising a succession planning model to ensure that trained Caymanian staff are available to fill as many key posts as possible,’ she said.