Samoa Public Service Commission says ‘No Pay Cuts as Currently Speculated’ for Doctors

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The Public Service Commission has issued a press statement clarifying their position in the current consultations with Samoa’s health care professionals.

According to the release, all permanent employees will continue to be paid overtime at their normal rates for all staff  earning up to the level of $68,695 per annum, “which is a substantial deviation or increase from the fixed rate of $18,494 currently applied to all other essential services.”

The Commission has also asserted that no doctor under contract will experience a pay cut, and should expect to be paid an additional 50-60 percent of their base salary as a “Responsibility Allowance” in lieu of overtime.

“Contract Employees are not entitled to overtime. Instead, the Commission considered a Responsibility Allowance for Contract Officers within the Health services at the range of 30% to 60% of basic salaries,” states the release.

“The Responsibility Allowance comprises of all other Allowances received under the LERA 2013; on-call allowances, call back allowance, emergency allowance and health and safety allowance”

“In essence Contract Officers in the Health Services including Doctors will receive an additional 50-60% increase on top of their base salaries without any pay cuts as currently speculated.”

𝑷𝑹𝑬𝑺𝑺 𝑹𝑬𝑳𝑬𝑨𝑺𝑬 in verbatim

𝑷𝑹𝑶𝑷𝑶𝑺𝑬𝑫 𝑺𝑨𝑳𝑨𝑹𝒀 𝑷𝑨𝑪𝑲𝑨𝑮𝑬𝑺 & 𝑶𝑽𝑬𝑹𝑻𝑰𝑴𝑬 𝑭𝑶𝑹 𝑻𝑯𝑬 𝑴𝑰𝑵𝑰𝑺𝑻𝑹𝒀 𝑶𝑭 𝑯𝑬𝑨𝑳𝑻𝑯

𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞𝗚𝗥𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗗

1. The Public Service Commission administers salary scales for all public servants, as well as prescribe the terms and conditions for employment of the same. This role is carried out in close consultation with the relevant Ministries and professional groups as was the case with the Health Professionals.

2. In 2006, the Government approved the separation of the National Health Services (NHS) from the Ministry of Health (MOH) which saw the NHS operating as a separate entity from the Ministry of Health.

3. In 2018, the Government approved the merge of the National Health Services (NHS) and the Ministry of Health. This meant all former NHS workers, who were governed under the Labour and Employment Relations Act 2013, would now be subject to the terms and conditions prescribed under the Public Service Act 2004.

4. The Public Service Commission (PSC) to date are working with the Management of the Ministry of Health to settle all post-merge matters.

5. Under the Labour and Employment Relations Act (LERA) 2013, overtime is paid at the normal rate of pay regardless of the salary and position. The National Health Services through the LERA provisions accumulated excessive costs in particular for the payment of staff entitlements which reached an unsustainable level and affected available funding for other Hospital operations.

6. Under the Public Service working conditions, the rate for which overtime is paid, is at the current (normal) rate of pay for positions that are paid up to $18,494.00 p.a. Those who are paid above $18,494, are paid at the fixed rate of $13.34 an hour (T1.5) and $17.78 an hour (T2), and not in accordance with their normal hourly rate. If normal conditions apply, all Health services employees will be paid at these rates under the PSC policies.

7. Any employee who is employed on a contractual basis in the Public Service cannot claim overtime payment. This includes Chief Executive Officers, Assistant Chief Executive Officers, and in this case, all Health services employees who are on a contract of employment.

8. At the moment, there are 90 doctors actively employed by the Ministry of Health. This does not include doctors who currently hold Management or Administrative positions. The Commission is collaborating with the Ministry to find solutions to improve the apparent shortage in the medical profession and bring overtime hours to a manageable level.

9. The Commission continues to liaise with the MOH Management. The Samoa Medical Association (SMA) as a matter of protocol liaises with the MOH Management as the first point of reference. The Commission however invited the Samoa Medical Association to a meeting on 19 May 2023. The Commission also attended the Nurses Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10th May 2023. The Commission also accepted an invitation to participate in the Samoa Dental Association AGM on 25 May 2023. The Commission attended all these Forums to clarify ongoing deliberations on the salaries and entitlements, a matter of protocol to ensure the Commission is not overstepping the governance boundaries.

𝗣𝗦𝗖 𝗖𝗢𝗡𝗦𝗜𝗗𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗠𝗢𝗛

1. The Commission considered the payment of overtime at the normal rate of pay for all permanent employees at their existing salaries up to the level of $68,695 per annum, which is a substantial deviation or increase from the fixed rate of $18,494 currently applied to all other essential services.

2. Contract Employees are not entitled to overtime. Instead, the Commission considered a Responsibility Allowance for Contract Officers within the Health services at the range of 30% to 60% of basic salaries. The Responsibility Allowance comprises of all other Allowances received under the LERA 2013; on-call allowances, call back allowance, emergency allowance and health and safety allowance. In essence Contract Officers in the Health Services including Doctors will receive an additional 50-60% increase on top of their base salaries without any pay cuts as currently speculated.

3. The Commission’s decision above is guided by its legal mandate, and premised on comparative research from around the Region, principles of fair and justifiable compensation; safeguarding occupational health and safety; workforce performance and service delivery; as well as sustainable and cost effectiveness to Government.