Suspended C.E.O.s' salaries to be cut down
Government employees on suspension will only receive one month’s salary for the duration of the period that they are under investigation, according to new standardisation measures passed into law on Tuesday.
The new law applies to the Chief Executive Officers (C.E.O.s) across all Government agencies.
In the past, upon their suspension employment salaries are automatically seized until the employee is reinstated. But suspended C.E.O.s are paid for a designated period.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, noted that Cabinet makes the final decision on the fate of any C.E.O.
Parliament was told that in some instances C.E.O.s opt to resign while they are in the midst of an investigation.
However the Prime Minister said if evidence of wrongdoing is concrete Cabinet would not accept a resignation, but rather terminate their services.
“This is important because it will send out a strong message as a warning to the country and businesses that if this person breaks the law here; this person will surely repeat this behavior,” he said.
“Another reason why the government has opted not to accept the resignation because this means, this person will get his benefits. Yet when one’s services [are] terminated, the entitlements will be forfeited.”
According to the memorandum on the bill, various Acts of Parliament will be amended in relation to the salary of any C.E.O. and employee of Government Ministries, Public Bodies and Constitutional Offices during future suspensions.
“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 bill clarified that it aimed to standardise the way in which suspension was treated across Government Ministries.
“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 the Member of Parliament for Salega East, Olo Fiti Vaai, urged the Government to look into the salaries and benefits of suspended C.E.O.s,
At that time, Olo pointed to two Chief Executive Officers who were suspended with four weeks' pay (both 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.