Gov’t Employees Benefit from Financial Literacy Seminar

The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, in conjunction with the Transformation Implementation Unit, on Wednesday (December 14) hosted a financial literacy seminar for government workers.

The forum, which was held at The Ambassadors in Kingston, was aimed at enhancing public-sector employees’ knowledge of money management, wealth creation, and retirement planning, which were among the topics covered.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, who spoke on the public-sector compensation restructuring exercise, said this will become a reality, starting next week.

The Government of Jamaica is implementing a new compensation system for the civil service.

It is expected that public-sector employees will receive retroactive payments and the new rates in December.

“This is an ambitious exercise. We are [talking about] a compensation system that has 110,000 employees across 325 different salary grades. We can’t go forward like that, because it is way too complex for the individuals and for the country,” Dr. Clarke said.

“So, this reform takes 325 grades and translates them into 16 salary bands. Now, that was never going to be easy, and it has taken a lot of energy, work, determination, optimism, and confidence in the Jamaican people to even begin to take on this challenge. But we take it on with your interest in mind,” he added.

The effective date for the new compensation system is April 1, 2022.

Dr. Clarke said the Government “was not taking anything away from anyone”.

“What we are actually doing is giving public servants an additional amount in December that represents the difference between your new pay and your old pay for the months of April to November,” he stated.

The Minister noted that the adjustments for some persons who are at the bottom of the salary scale will be significant, relative to current income.

“In some cases, persons who report up will receive an arrears amount that is in excess of the top-up amount of somebody who they may be junior to. Now that ought not to breed discontent; I would encourage an attitude where you are happy for them. What it means is that for a long time, they have been in a disadvantageous position, and this is the moment when we make it right by them,” Dr. Clarke said.

A 2012 Baseline Study on Financial Literacy in Jamaica revealed that Jamaicans’ knowledge is average, whereas financial behaviour is relatively good.

Although entities such as the Bank of Jamaica, the Financial Services Commission and the Ministry have been championing financial literacy, it is recognised that more needs to be done in training persons of all ages and strata of society to better manage their money and plan their financial affairs.