Government moves to address pay inequity
Long-serving public school teachers who have not seen pay increases in several years will get one this year.
Education Minister Tara Rivers said the issue of “pay stagnation” was creating inequity in Cayman’s schools, with some veteran teachers paid less than new arrivals for the same work.
Pay inequity, also an issue causing concern in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, appears to be an unintended consequence of austerity measures introduced across government in the wake of the financial crisis.
While long-term employees had their pay frozen, new arrivals have still been able to negotiate salaries in line with their previous earnings.
Ms. Rivers said the Portfolio of Civil Service has agreed to a pay raise for veteran teachers.
“Government has agreed, starting this academic year, that salary for those who qualify, with respect to pay stagnation, will be adjusted.”
She described pay inequity as a “long-standing issue that has negatively affected morale among many long-serving teachers.”
Ms. Rivers added, “We needed to deal with this issue to move the system forward because those inequities needed to be addressed.”
Speaking at an event on Wednesday to mark the start of the new school year, she said a more general review is continuing of teacher salaries, comparing pay and conditions internationally.
Exactly who qualifies for a pay raise this year was not clear from Ms. River’s comments, and the Portfolio of Civil Service did not respond by press time to questions from the Cayman Compass.
Earlier this year, the Civil Service Association highlighted concerns that austerity policies had undermined the concept of equal pay for equal work across government.
Association president James Watler said the issue was creating “inequality of pay between Caymanian and expatriate staff.”
Police Commissioner David Baines made similar remarks, suggesting long-serving Caymanian officers were disproportionately affected.
At the time, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson acknowledged pay stagnation was an issue and suggested austerity measures were beginning to be relaxed thanks to government’s improving financial position.
He said the issue of pay inequity is “not one of Caymanian versus non-Caymanian, but more generally an issue of existing employees versus new hires.”
There was no word Thursday on whether the pay increase for teachers would be extended to other areas of the civil service.