Thousands of workers are effectively getting a Christmas bonus with the news that government has sanctioned cost of living salary adjustments for the majority of statutory authorities and government companies.
Premier Alden McLaughlin announced in September that civil servants working in core government were getting a 5 percent salary increase – the first such adjustment since the recession. He said the move would bring civil servant salaries back on track after more than seven years of playing catch-up with an increasing cost of living.
But the pay raise was not automatically extended to the 2,000-plus workers in the statutory authorities and government companies, such as Cayman Airways, the Health Services Authority and the Cayman Islands National Insurance Company.
The boards of those entities had to apply to the Cabinet Office, under the terms of the Public Authorities Law, for permission to award similar adjustments to their staff.
Though not all of the statutory authorities and government companies were impacted by civil service pay freezes to the same extent as core government, the Cayman Compass understands that all that applied have been granted cost of living adjustments.
Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell, whose ministry covers Cayman Airways, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, the Cayman Turtle Centre and the Port Authority, among others, said all of the entities under his ministry had been granted increases.
He said, “Following the award of a cost of living adjustment to civil servants, the ministry received questions from statutory authorities and government companies regarding it being extended to them. They made a business case to us for it and, to my knowledge, all of them have been approved.
“The cost of living increase is just what it says, an adjustment that helps ensure that as the cost of living goes up, there is a matching increase in pay.”
Lizzette Yearwood, CEO of the Health Services Authority, confirmed that the 5 percent increase had been extended to its staff. She said it was the first such increase since a 3 percent adjustment in 2015.
Tim Adam, director of the Cayman Turtle Centre, confirmed a similar increase had been granted for his employees.
Other directors told the Compass they had either been granted adjustments or were awaiting final approval.
The adjustments represent a return to normal practices for government after a period of retrenchment following the recession.
Cost of living adjustments were historically awarded periodically to ensure civil service salary scales kept pace with increases in the Consumer Price Index.
The practice was suspended following the global recession in 2008 and civil servants’ pay was actually cut by 3.2 percent in 2010. That pay cut was reversed in 2015, and this year’s core government cost of living increase was made possible by the stabilizing of government finances.