The Cayman Islands civil service looks to cut 360 jobs
Lean times are ahead for the Cayman Islands civil service, no matter who gets elected in May.
Government staff is to be reduced by a “headcount” of some 360 civil servants during a period of five years, to include the 140 vacant or new positions that were already left in the current budget year.
There will also be a “pay freeze” for all members of the civil service. That was the plan announced last year by then-Premier McKeeva Bush and according to Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, it hasn’t changed.
“We’re still committed to that,” Mr. Manderson said.
After receiving a pay increase of 3.2 per cent in December 2011, civil servants received an across-the-board pay cut of 3.2 per cent in August 2012.
The 3.2 per cent cost-of-living pay increase that was initially awarded in 2008 was first revoked during the 2010/11 budget negotiations, with then-premier McKeeva Bush stating it was to be only a temporary salary reduction.
The pay cut in August 2012 was expected to generate some $5 million to $6 million in savings during the course of the 2012/13 budget year, which government has earmarked to assist in paying down past service pension liabilities for current public sector retirees.
The government has not made full payments into that fund for at least the past three years.
Some civil servants will be losing additional pay beyond the 3.2 per cent reduction.
Those Caymanian government workers older than the retirement age of 60 who continue working for the public sector on contract are able to receive their pension, as well as a salary for the term of their contract.
However, under new civil service rules, those public servants will receive what amounts to a pay cut upon taking up their new contracts. For instance, if a pay grade “J” civil servant was working at pay point 5 on the civil service scale, when they reached age 60 and signed a new contract, they would go back to point 1 of the scale.
The reduction could result in thousands or even tens of thousands of lost wages per year, depending on the person’s position on the pay scale. The civil servant would also be in a position to receive their pension while receiving the reduced salary.
In addition to the previously announced hiring freeze, which according to former Premier Bush means “80 per cent of the posts that were budgeted in the 2012/13 fiscal year” will not be filled, a “pay freeze” for all civil service salaries will be implemented.
Deputy Governor Manderson had alluded to some – but not all – of this in a 20 August 2012 memo.
“Through 30 June, chief officers have agreed to eliminate approximately 140 of the vacancies and new positions that had been funded in the original draft of the 2012/13 budget,” the deputy governor’s memo stated. “Over the next five years the moratorium on recruitment will aim to make further reductions to our numbers by closely scrutinising new vacancies … to assess whether such posts remain critical to our operations,”
As of February 2013, the Cayman Islands civil service, central government, was employing 3,551 individuals.
The initial government budget had planned for more than 3,700 people working in the central government during the 2012/13 fiscal year.
The goal, according to Mr. Manderson, is to save as many jobs as possible of existing civil servants while not requiring them to take massive pay cuts so the government can keep operating.
Mr. Manderson has said that he had worked out details of a voluntary separation scheme for civil servants and implementation of healthcare plans for new government workers as well.
New police officers joining the RCIPS will be given a reduced housing allowance from what they received under the post-Hurricane Ivan plan in 2004.