The government yesterday described as "genuine;' the delay in the ongoing new pay policy reform for the country's public service, attributing it to the inclusion of additional job classifications which were not part of the initial plan.
It said most government-subvented agencies and organisations did not submit details of allowances paid workers to the Ministry of Public Sector Reforms on time.
Mr Samuel Owusu Agyei, sector minister, who said this at a press conference to give an update on the development of the reforms in Accra, said also that discussion among stakeholders involved in the exercise did not materialise.
The reform is aimed at improving service delivery in the public service sector to improve productivity. It took off in September 2006 by CoEN Consult and was expected to have been completed by October last year.
Mr Owusu-Agyei said that work on the reform is now expected to be ready by the end of July this year for submission to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which will determine its cost implication for the 2009 budget.
"Hopefully, the implementation will start on January 1, 2009," he assured.
Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment, said stakeholders involved in the reform exercise have agreed that the consultant should be given more time to "produce a work that would stand the test of time to avoid any distortions".
"We want this reform policy to last for decades or more," he said, and called on all to exercise restraint.
Mr Owusu-Agyei said that with the cooperation of the stakeholders, much success has been achieved citing the release of reports on the job evaluation and pay comparison, allowances and the single spine system.
"At the moment, 1,806 benchmark jobs have been graded but it is important that all the 8,000 jobs in the public services are graded before the placement exercise and the eventual implementation of the single spine."
Under the 'single-spine' pay structure, persons working in analogous positions in different establishments with the same qualification, experience and doing the same value of work, earn equal pay.
He said that two forums were organised in November last year and last month to discuss the two reports, after which the stakeholders made some recommendations, including the introduction of salary administration in the public service in line with "equal pay for equal work of worth."
The others, he said, were the direct relation of the single spine salary structure to the proposed 28-level grading structure, and the development of the single spine structure independent of government's negotiation with labour.
The recommendations "are quite apt and far-reaching", he said and urged all stakeholders to put their heads together to produce a new policy that would improve the morale and productivity of public servants, as well as establish equity in the sector's salary administration.
Nana Akomea said that efforts are being made to ensure that the private sector employers pay the government's minimum wage to ensure equity, noting that, once that is finished and gazetted, "the private sector will pay the minimum wage."
He explained that "any company or organization which may not be able to pay the minimum wage, may be spared after its profit and turnover has been scrutinized to establish that indeed it cannot pay."