The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is committed to creating a working environment that supports employees to deliver high quality services to the people of Jamaica.

As part of the ongoing transformation of the public sector of Jamaica, the GOJ is restructuring the compensation system to address current and emerging issues relating to the structure of compensation, to create an equitable and defensible pay and job evaluation system for the public service. This will be achieved by:

  1. Developing a compensation philosophy and policy to support the new compensation structure; and
  2. Rationalising compensation to take account of the current levels of pay and the wide-ranging allowances, together with the diverse job families and terms and conditions of service.

What is Compensation?

Compensation refers to the combination of monetary and non-monetary benefits employees receive in exchange for the work they do.

Compensation can be either direct or indirect. Direct compensation can be fixed, as in wages or vary such as overtime payments. Indirect compensation can change and includes the benefits and services employees receive.


Wages and Salaries





Health insurance

Paid leave

Subsidised lunches

Loan funds

  • There are four main elements of total compensation. These are:
  • Basic salary which, in nearly every case, is the largest component of total compensation.
  • Allowances are paid for a limited number of reasons. For example, because of a requirement to work unsocial hours such as shifts, or in recognition of costs incurred by employees.
  • Variable pay is not a regular, guaranteed part of compensation. It is paid to cover additional work such as overtime or, as an incentive for exceptional performance.
  • Benefits may be tangible such as membership of a pension scheme or group health plan or intangible such as flexible working hours or the high level of job security enjoyed by those working in the public sector.


Why Restructure Public Sector Compensation?

The current compensation system in the public sector is characterised by

  • Complexity with 325 salary scales and approximately 185 allowances
  • Allowances make up a large proportion of total compensation for some groups
  • Inconsistent application of policies and processes
  • Absence of a guiding philosophy and common tools
  • Real and perceived inequities
  • Little or negative role in motivation and productivity
  • Pressure to manipulate the system to increase pay
  • Lack of clarity and transparency – upward pressure on the wage bill and overhead to maintain and defend the system

In this regard, the GOJ wants to ensure that public sector workers are compensated adequately in making the public sector a good place to work.

The Compensation Review Project was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service to develop an equitable, rational, and defensible pay and job evaluation structure by:

  • restructuring compensation in the public sector considering the current levels of pay, the multiplicity of allowances, and the diverse job evaluation systems; and
  • developing the public service compensation philosophy and policy to support a more rational compensation structure.

The New Compensation System

The new compensation system will support the delivery of high quality public services, reward performance, promote equity and reward employees competitively. The system is based on how jobs relate to each other in the public sector and the following principles:

  • Simple – easily understood
  • Consistent – equitable application and transparency across the public sector
  • Rewards Performance – recognises and rewards high performance
  • Sustainable –affordable, manageable, defensible and supports the realisation of strategic goals

A key feature of the new compensation system is a New Public Service Job Evaluation Factor Plan which will be used to understand jobs across the public service in a more consistent way. This will replace the myriad of classification systems and structures currently in place and align the job evaluation system to international standards.

The factors are:

  • Expertise – Measures the capability and skills necessary to perform the job and the context in which these are applied
  • Critical Thinking – Assesses the reasoning component of the job and the extent to which the work is specified by guidelines or constraints. It focuses on the existence of instructions, techniques, Acts & Regulations, procedures and policies and the requirement for innovation in the resolution of problems
  • Communication – Assesses the extent to which communication is needed in the job; it reflects the extent to which the work requires making personal contacts, inside and outside the organisation, whether written or verbal, together with the purpose of client engagement
  • Service Delivery – Assesses the authority to act and the accountability for actions or decisions which impact on the organisation’s objectives, including the impact on client experience and the delivery of effective public services
  • Working Environment – Measures the context within which the work is positioned, and the nature of the environmental demands placed on the job holder. It measures the manual, physical, mental, and sensory challenges involved in performing the job

Each factor is broken down into a number of sub-factors to ensure the job is adequately evaluated.