Cayman Islands government officials clarified Wednesday that a performance pay plan for government workers who consistently go above and beyond the call of duty remains suspended until public sector finances improve.
Acting Deputy Governor Dax Basdeo, responding to a report earlier this week in the Caymanian Compass, noted that Cabinet would have to give the green light for such a move prior to its implementation. For clarity, performance pay would be used as a one-time bonus payment, not as a perpetual salary increase.
The suspension of the performance pay increases was noted in Wednesday’s story.
“There’s something there now [referring to performance pay measures in the law], but we’ve suspended it during this tight budget time,” Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said earlier this year. “This really tight economic time is when you should be pushing performance, you know, people to do more with less.”
However, Mr. Manderson, acting as governor for Duncan Taylor who is off Island, said the newspaper story had still caused “some confusion” among the civil service.
The story set out the terms under which performance pay would be granted. It also detailed terms by which non-performing employees would be dealt with.
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 performance pay boost; ratings of three can lead to a 2.5 per cent bonus. 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.
Mr. 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 service.
“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.”