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P.M. says suspended Govt. employees law will save money

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Mailelegaoi, says a bill on conditions to be applied to the salaries of suspended Government employees is fair to both the employee and the employer.

The bill, tabled in Parliament this week, spells out that all suspended employees of the Government are entitled to a salary for a one month period only. When it becomes law, it will apply to the Chief Executive Officers across all Government agencies.   

Speaking during his weekly media programme, Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the law was motivated by the need to save public money.

“There’s no big difference," he said. "The only difference is that the Government will not lose (money) because of this."

“In the old law, if the (suspended employee) is to wait for two years, and if that’s the C.E.O of a Ministry who is paid $120,000 a year, then that means he’s only going to sleep and eat and still receive his $120,000 plus the (Ministry) telephone,” Tuilaepa said.

Tuilaepa said this is on of other allowances and benefits they are entitled to.

“We can’t go through with a decision (on a suspended employee) unless an investigation has been done and finalised," Tuilaepa pointed out. 

"Everyone has their rights and it is also under the law that we can’t say they have done something unless it’s proven.

“So now, the new proposed changes is (to pay the suspended employee) for one month only and after that, your telephone will be taken from you and your vehicle so you will need to ride your own vehicle while you wait for your court case even if it’s for five years.

"Once the court decides that the suspended employee will return to his job after being proven innocent, the Government will compensate for all the years and months the employee missed at work."

But Tuilaepa said the law as it stands means the Government could lose so much money by paying a public official who ends up being sacked.

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. 

“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.” 

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