Senior civil servants to take pay cut in this Covid-19 crisis

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Head of Public Service and chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee Joseph Kinyua at Harambee House in a past function, flanked by the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces General Samson Mwathethe (left). Photo/FILE

The government has released details of the implementation of the voluntary salary cuts for senior civil servants that would see the public officers earn less pay for three months.

In an internal memo by the Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua dated April 20, the guidelines stress on ensuring the exercise remains voluntary, gives officers serving in the constitutional commissions, independent offices, county governments and other agencies the option to join the scheme if they so wished.

Sources within government told the People Daily that Members of the National Assembly, Senators and judges and magistrates are ranked in these category of independent offices, who can decide to join the scheme on their own volition.

Officers targeted in the scheme the government insists should be completely voluntary, would see their salaries slashed in the months of April, May and June before a review is made.

“The voluntary salary cuts shall be for an initial period of three months with effect from April 2020.

However, this is subject to review based on the advice of the Ministry of Health on the Status of Covid-19 pandemic in this great nation,” reads of part of Kinyua’s letter addressed to all principal secretaries, accounting officers and chief executive officers.

According to Kinyua, the percentage deduction of the salaries shall be effected on the net package arising after statutory deductions such as the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

While making the announcement on the voluntary salary cuts on March 25, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have forego 80 per cent of their monthly salaries towards efforts to fight coronavirus.

The figures 

 “In sharing the burden occasioned by the present global health pandemic, over the duration of the global crisis and commencing immediately, my administration has offered a voluntary reduction in the salaries of the senior ranks of the National Executive,” he then said.

Once implemented, this will see the President, who earns Sh1.44 million a month, according to figures from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, take home Sh280,000.

Ruto who pockets Sh1.22 million a month, will be left with about Sh240, 000. 

Cabinet Secretaries, who take home Sh924,000 per month, will be earning Sh640,000 while Principal Secretaries currently earning Sh765,000 will get a 20 per cent  pay cut to Sh610,000, while Chief Administrative Secretaries will take a 30 per cent pay cut.

SRC has not tabulated the monthly salaries of CAS, whose roles and functions are not stipulated in the constitution.

According to Kinyua, each public officer participating in the voluntary salary cuts should voluntarily authorise his or her accounting officer by a signing a given form.

Kinyua has also given civil servants below the ranks of CAS the option to decide the amount of money to be deducted.

Kinyua issued the implementation guidelines as various firms effected salary cuts on their employees as a result of effects of the coronavirus.

And yesterday, Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary Francis Atwoli warned firms not to take advantage of the government’s call for voluntary salary cuts to reduce their employees’ salaries.

“We are aware that some firms are already taking advantage of the whole situation to unilaterally reduce salaries of their employees.

This is criminal as the President clearly said that everything has to be voluntary,” he warned.

Cushion measures

Atwoli warned that the umbrella workers’ body is considering moving to court to challenge the decision by some firms to take advantage of the voluntary salary cuts to reduce their workers’ pay.

The government move also comes a day after the Senate published the Pandemic Response and Management Bill, 2020 that among other things, seeks to cushion those in employment from salary cuts and businessmen from paying for trading licences and land rates.

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