More Cayman Islands government workers will be receiving a modest bonus in their paychecks this month.
A one-time gratuity or bonus of 2.2 percent of salary was already headed to central government’s 3,500 civil service workers. However, some 2,000 additional employees who work in the statutory authorities and companies owned by the government apparently did not fall into the civil service category.
Premier Alden McLaughlin announced Tuesday that Cabinet members had agreed to extend the bonus to the staff of the authorities and government companies, provided the amount “does not result in any supplemental expenditure” by those agencies.
Mr. McLaughlin said the 2.2 percent bonus – which equates to $880 for a person earning $40,000 a year – is the most government could do this year “without creating what we believe will be some difficulties for us.”
The initial 2.2 percent bonus payment for civil servants was expected to cost government $2.5 million in the current 2015/16 budget year, which ends on June 30.
It was not stated how much the additional bonus payments to the statutory authority and government company employees would add to that.
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush asked whether the government might consider increasing the bonus amount for lower-earning government workers – those who earn less than $4,000 or $5,000 per month – “or whatever the figure is,” Mr. Bush said.
“The 2.2 percent [bonus] doesn’t give much to them,” Mr. Bush said.
Mr. McLaughlin said government realizes that those who earn less would get a smaller bonus, but said this is the best government could do at the moment.
The premier pointed out that civil servants had received either one-time bonuses or a cost-of-living salary increase in three of the four public sector budgets brought by the Progressives-led administration since 2013.
Mr. McLaughlin also said the government had set aside another $2 million to address “pay stagnation issues” in the civil service over the course of the next budget. Those issues involve situations where government workers who have held the same jobs for a number of years have not received any salary increase and are no longer being paid competitively in their field.
Cayman Islands elected officials will not receive the 2.2 percent one-time bonus this month, Finance Minister Marco Archer said.
Mr. Archer said there is no proposal for an across-the-board pay increase for civil servants during the upcoming 2016/17 government budget, which covers 18 months between July 1, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2017.
The pay bonuses are being given to recognize “valuable contributions civil servants have made in the past year,” Mr. McLaughlin said.