Govt. moves to cap suspended employee salaries

Government employees on suspension will have their salaries limited to one month under standardisation measures that passed first reading in Parliament this week. 

This proposal applies to the Chief Executive Officers across all Government agencies.   

In the past, upon suspension employment salaries are automatically seized until the employee is reinstated, however the suspended chief executive officers are paid for a designated period. 

According to the memorandum on the bill, various Acts of Parliament will be amended in relation to the salary of any chief executive and employee of Government Ministries, Public Bodies and Constitutional Offices during suspension and for related purposes.

“The bill seeks to amend various Acts of Parliament to give effect to a Cabinet Directive FK (16) Faapitoa 13, dated 9 December 2016 regarding the conditions to be applied on a salary of Government employees when suspended from employment,” the bill said. 

The objects of the Bill are to clarify that all suspended employees of the Government are entitled to a salary for a one month period only 

“If the suspension extends beyond one (1) month as a result of ongoing investigative procedures the suspended employee’s salary will cease,” the bill said. 

“If at the completion of suspension procedures a suspended employee is cleared of all allegations that led to the suspension, the suspended employee must be reimbursed the salary owed to him or her commencing from the period the salary ceased to the date the employee is reinstated. 

“If however, the suspended employee is not cleared of the allegations and the decision resulting from procedures during suspension is for that person to be terminated, no further action is to be taken regarding the terminated person’s salary.” 

Last year Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai, urged the Government to look into the salaries and benefits of a C.E.O. once they are suspended. 

At that time, Olo pointed to two Chief Executive Officers who were suspended with four weeks pay (the duo eventually had their services terminated by Cabinet). 

“The [Public Service Commission] should amend their regulations to have a clause in the employment contract that public servants (including Judges, Cabinet Ministers) should be suspended [or] take special leave without remuneration, pending the investigation,” Olo said at that time. 

"The Government should reconsider their laws when it comes to officials who are suspended/taking special leave, should be without remuneration. 

“At the completion of the investigation and if the Government wishes to reinstate the Government official, they should receive full back-pay. 

“They are entitled, but not when their case is pending and we are unaware of the outcome.” 

Olo also brought up the case of the late Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo who was suspended for nearly a year:  

“He was suspended with pay and after the Inquiry, his contract was terminated. 

“It begs the questions; did the Government recover the funds paid to him while he was on suspension? I highly doubt that, hence the concern on remuneration of Government officials while suspended,” the M.P. said.

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