Prime Minister Henry Puna will today announce increases for police, prison officers, and other justice, transport and agriculture employees.
Next week’s top-up will come as a relief for the Police Service, which has faced dramatic officer turnover. But this pay rise will apply only to the new recruits, and constables, a spokesman said.
Finance Minister Mark Brown said the pay rise would be a huge boost across all sectors of the public service.
It is the first in a three-year roll-out of pay increases: next year comes health workers, the Pa Enua, and those working in environment and cultural development. The following year is teachers and the rest of the government ministries
Brown said 435 public servants would benefit from the pay rises.
It comes after controversy over big pay hikes for heads of ministries and, most notably, a 45 per cent salary increase for the Prime Minister and other MPs.
Brown said the Cabinet was pleased to support these key workers getting more in their pay packet at the end of this month. The adjustment takes into account cost of living adjustments, and aims to improve the competitiveness of government as an employer.
“We know we are competing against the private sector and the growing tourism and private sector and we want to keep our people in key positions but we also know we can’t do this if we don’t also offer a more attractive package,” he said.
The new salary structure provides for a minimum government salary of $15,057 with a mid-point at $17,500 up to $19,950. The maximum at the top band is $78,469 within the standard structure of the remuneration framework; that does not include top executives like heads of ministries, some of whom already earn more than $100,000 a year.
“It is expected that the adjustment to salaries in the lower bands will have positive social impacts through an improvement in welfare and at the higher bands retain high performing employees,” Brown said.
“Government is aware of the small labour pool in the Cook Islands and it is anticipated that the adjustments, will give the head of ministries the flexibility to explore various options to address the current shortfall in human resources. This will include supporting the development of internship programmes in government.”