The Fair Wages And Salaries Commission (FWSC) has explained a number of pertinent issues surrounding the implementation of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP) leading to some public service employees embarking industrial strikes.
Mr George Smith-Graham, Chief Executive of the FWSC shed light on issues involving the SSPP implementation during a press briefing in Accra on Friday.
He mentioned market premium, incremental credits, maintenance allowance and harmonization and standardization of allowances as some of the issues that needed clarification.
Mr Smith-Graham said the market premium, which is a payment system to attract and retain critical skills in the public services was not being implemented as some workers perceive.
“The FWSC is not implementing market premium at the moment, what the FWSC is implementing now is an interim measure to take care of specific institutions with peculiar challenges during the migration”, he said.
He explained that during the migration process the commission encountered challenges concerning workers in the heath sector and the universities, which had in their existing salaries elements of premium.
It was therefore prudent to put in place some mechanisms to prevent such groups from being worse-off as well as prevent them from opting out of the SSPP as some groups did in the Ghana Universal Salary Structure, he added.
Mr Smith-Graham also pointed out that the interim measure was an absolute amount even though its determination was based on a percentage of the basic salary.
The commission stated that the market premium was not an allowance, neither was it a top up for workers.
He maintained “it is only an incentive given to employees to attract and retain critical skills in short supply, it is not negotiable”, and no institution has negotiated on the market premium.
He added that that Commission has finalized guidelines for the implementation of the market premium and it is now awaiting cabinet approval.
Mr Smith-Graham also mentioned that serious preparatory work was being done towards the final negotiation for the standardization and harmonization and payment of category two and three allowances.
He said the standardization and harmonization of allowances was meant to bring all institutions on board the scheme to enjoy similar kinds and rates of allowances.
Following the migration of public service employees onto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS), the commission put a freeze on the award of annual incremental credits to public service employees, he said.
He noted that the halt in the award of yearly incremental credits to public service workers was not peculiar to one sector.
He also explained that the car maintenance allowance to public service officers is based on approval from their departments.
He thus urged workers with difficulty to contact their heads of departments for appropriate inputs submitted to the Ministry of Finance for redress.
Dr Alhassan Idrisu, Director of Real Sector Division of Ministry of Finance said given the huge wage bill there was the need to put structures in place to ensure the sustainability of the SSPP.
Therefore, government was managing compensation payments within budgetary constraints because excessive wage bill was crowding out expenditures, he said.
Dr Idrisu added that government was also implementing the policy in phases in order to ensure its sustainability.