Policies on civil servants who participate in “private gainful employment” in extra jobs or who run separate businesses while working for government are being drafted to apply across the government service.
Government chief officers met late last month and discussed the matter, according to minutes of a meeting released by the deputy governor’s office.
“Civil servants who wish to engage in private gainful activity are required by the Public Service Management Law to first obtain their chief officer’s approval,” the records noted. “It was agreed that consistent practice across the service in this area was important.”
The Portfolio of the Civil Service was asked to draft a policy on gainful employment to apply for the entire public service.
Civil servants have been asked to provide information on gainful employment activities for approval by chief officers. They are also typically asked to provide information on any conflicts of interest that may affect the day-to-day operations of any departments, as is set out in the civil service code of conduct.
Acting Deputy Governor Mary Rodrigues said Wednesday there is no outright ban on civil service workers engaging in private gainful activities within certain limits.
“The deputy governor [referring to Franz Manderson] has proposed, and chief officers support, that in this and some other human resources matter, it is important to share best practice and to be consistent in our approach across the civil service,” Mrs. Rodrigues said, noting many departments already have their own rules for such situations.
Civil service employment agreements generally read as follows: “The employee agrees not to, without the written agreement of his chief officer, engage in any private gainful activity that conflicts with the employees’ duties or might be reasonably perceived to conflict with those duties or that impinges upon the employee’s ability to complete his duties diligently and conscientiously in a manner that would normally be expected by a principal employer.”
The issue of government workers holding additional employment, and when they perform those additional duties, has been a contentious one for nearly a decade in the Cayman Islands.
As early as 2005, the Cayman Islands Contractors Association alleged some civil servants were ‘moonlighting’ – or working a second after-hours job, and that others were ‘daylighting’ or working on their own business while they were supposed to be at their government job. The main concern of the contractors association at the time was civil servants were operating construction companies during the day time in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
“Moonlighting is a questionable activity, as it may leave the employee too tired and distracted to perform his primary job,” the 2005 contractors association statement read. “Daylighting is nothing short of theft from government, and, by extension, from taxpayers.”
“We find daylighting on all levels,’ the contractors association stated, “from clean-up crews and the trucking of aggregate, to full-blown construction companies servicing multi-million dollar contracts.”