Wednesday, June 19, 2024
NewsCivil service to see ‘Merit and Wage Board’ chaired by Prime Minister

Civil service to see ‘Merit and Wage Board’ chaired by Prime Minister

Draft proposes new Institute to evaluate civil servant competency

A bill tabled to the Parliament this week proposes the establishment of a ‘Merit and Wage Board’ that will be mandated with determining and approving salary adjustments of civil servants, among other things.

The proposed board would be in charge of assessing salary scale adjustments and increments against national budgets, as well as determining benefits and incentives before submitting its recommendations to the Council of Ministers for approval, according to the draft proclamation, which is slated for ratification in the coming weeks.

The board will be composed of the ministers of Finance and Planning and Development, as well as other senior government officials. The Prime Minister will chair the board.

The absence of a minimum wage in Ethiopia remains a bone of contention between the government and labor rights advocates like the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU). The establishment of a ‘Wage Board’ was initially proposed in the Labor Proclamation ratified in 2019, which states the body would be established to periodically study updates and determine a minimum wage for both public and private employees across all sectors.

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However, CETU representatives have criticized the government for dragging its feet in establishing such a board.

The latest piece of legislation looks to form a board for civil servants, but there is no clear indication whether a separate wage board will be coming for private sector employees. 

The proposed board will also be mandated with approving the implementation of salary increments, payments and benefits, incentive payments made in accordance with the proclamation and implementation regulations, as well as directives issued by the Civil Service Commission.

It will also be responsible for supervising the implementation of merit, impartiality, and independent civil service systems in government offices according to a directive issued by the Commission. The supervision, follow up, and implementation of public service and administration reform programs and the provision of support to the Commission in its proposals to the Council of Ministers are also part of the board’s tasks.

The draft proposes to limit employment opportunities to “qualified” civil servants, and calls for the establishment of an ‘Ethiopian Occupation and Competency of Leaders Institute’ to achieve the ambitions.

The Institute will be charged with providing short-term technical and behavioral competency training programs and supplementary education, conducting research and consultancy services, and implementing competency assessments and certification programs.

Officials want to use assessment and certification programs to serve as a basis for the hiring, promotion, redeployment, and career advancement of civil servants. The Commission is charged with preparing the criteria for the competency assessment and certification systems, which will be implemented in accordance with a regulation to be issued by the Council of Ministers.

In order to be employed in a government office, an existing employee must obtain a minimum passing score in the technical and moral competency assessment conducted by the Institute. Civil servants with unsatisfactory results will be required to obtain a qualification certificate, while those who fail to do that will be barred from public service.

The draft obliges all government offices to report vacancies to the Institute, which will then be in charge of advertising for new applicants and reviewing existing government employees who meet the required skill set.

All applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and must hold clean records, according to the draft. It also proposes that civil servants dismissed from their posts for disciplinary issues can again be employed by the government following a period of five years from the date of dismissal.

The draft bars non-Ethiopians from holding positions in the civil service and introduces a range of amenities for public employees.

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