Performance-based pay increases for Cayman Islands civil servants could lead to anywhere from a 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent one-time bonus [*] for those workers.
The performance pay system is set out in Personnel Regulations, revised and approved by Cabinet last month, according to public records.
Performance pay is to be awarded based on a five-point rating scale; the highest point on the scale being five and the lowest point being one.
For a rating of five, the employee must have “achieved substantially better than agreed performance in most respects”. If an evaluation of the employee shows that level of job performance, then “the staff member shall be entitled to a performance-related remuneration payment equal to 10 per cent of the staff member’s wages or salary”, according to the regulations.
Ratings of a four on employee evaluations can lead to a 5 per cent increase in performance pay; ratings of three can lead to a 2.5 per cent increase. A rating of four indicates the worker had better than agreed performance “in some respects”. A three rating means they achieved all agreed performance standards.
An evaluation rating of two means no pay increase for the civil servant, because they met performance goals in some, but not all respects.
A one evaluation rating means the government worker failed to achieve agreed performance in a “substantial way”. A “one” rating means that the staff member could face punishment by way of a written letter about their job performance.
“If performance does not improve within a reasonable period of time, dismissal action will be taken,” the regulations state in relation to those that receive a “one” on their evaluation ratings.
Cayman Islands Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said earlier this year that the long-dormant idea of performance pay would be revived as a way of boosting morale and job performance. Mr. Manderson said it would also ensure that poor performers are “dealt with”.
“There’s something there now [referring to performance pay measures in the law], but we’ve suspended it during this tight budget time,” he said earlier this year. “This really tight economic time is when you should be pushing performance, you know, people to do more with less.”
In a statement released to all civil servants
Wednesday afternoon, Acting Deputy Governor Dax Basdeo indicated that
performance-based pay provisions have been contained in the Public
Service Management Law and regulations since 2005.
The law initially called for those to come into
force in July 2009, but this was deferred until “such date as the
Cabinet may by order specify”. The Cabinet has never made such an order.
“A programme leading up [to] the anticipated
implementation of performance-based pay is under way as spear-headed by
the deputy governor,” Mr. Basdeo’s statement continued. “This programme
includes improving performance management tools
and fostering a more robust performance culture within the civil
“To date, all of the deputy governor’s direct
reports have performance agreements in place for this financial year and
chief officers are now executing agreements with their staff. The civil
service will be informed as soon as Cabinet makes
the order to institute performance based pay.”[**]
The idea of performance-based pay for government workers was basically that each government department director gets a particular set of responsibilities and goals to meet, within certain budget parameters.
Chief officers’ performance contracts would be held by the Cayman Islands Cabinet. Certain outputs were expected to be achieved within the public funds provided.
Peter Gough, who now serves as an assistant to Mr. Manderson, said at the time the performance pay plan was being introduced that the approach would “trickle down” to all levels of government, starting with the chief officer positions. He also said government ministers responsible for various departments would have the ability to withhold payment to departments that didn’t meet their goals.
Mr. Manderson said the revival of the performance-based pay idea is just one area he’ll be looking into to try and modernise and improve the civil service. Despite the perception that it is generally difficult to fire people from the civil service, Mr. Manderson said that’s what will happen if individuals repeatedly do not perform to the level they are expected to.
“To me it is not hard [to fire non-performers], you just have to be committed to doing it and making the tough decisions and certainly, I have never shied away from making tough decisions,” he said.
[*] Editor’s note: Phrase added here to clarify that any performance based pay increases will be one-time bonus payments, not overall increases in salary.
[**} Editor’s note: The section above was added at 3:50pm