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Public officers have a reasonable expectation to be paid bonuses

Public officers have a reasonable expectation to be paid bonuses

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At least one union has made clear its disappointment with the non-payment of a Christmas bonus this year for public servants.{{more}}

In a letter dated December 22, 2009, addressed to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and signed by its General Secretary Elroy Boucher, the Public Service Union (PSU) said that the decision not to pay the annual bonus, which was expected at this time, was ‘deeply disappointing’.

“The PSU notes that for the past eight years, the government has paid bonuses to public officers,” the letter stated.

“This practice can be considered as being institutionalized and the public officers, therefore, have a reasonable expectation to the payment of such bonuses.

The letter went on to say that these expected bonuses would have provided some financial relief to public officers during the “current economic hardship”.

The letter also called on the government to complete the outstanding reclassification process to “ensure that all public servants are fairly compensated for their work in keeping with the recommendations and spirit of the Powell report.”

During a press conference on December 17, Prime Minister Gonsalves indicated that because of “stimulus packages” earlier in October this year, no Christmas bonuses were to be dished out for Christmas.

The prime minister said that he had given money to families by way of the school students, public assistance and through the National Insurance Services.

Gonsalves stated that the stimulus received as Independence gifts was greater than any bonus that would have been given during the Christmas season and hinted that bonuses and stimulus packages can come at any time.

“The public servants know that I will look out all the time for them. I believe that we will catch our hand as we go along; there are different times in which stimuli can be provided.”

“We have a history of providing stimulus and running a counter cyclical fiscal policy. If we didn’t have that stimulus between October and now the situation would have been tighter on the ground.”