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Civil service accepts pay cut


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GEORGE TOWN – The Cayman Islands Civil Service Association has indicated it will not oppose government plans to cut workers’ salaries by 3.2 per cent starting in July.However, the group’s president has said government might consider implementing the pay cut a bit differently than has been proposed.According to government emails and memos obtained by the Caymanian Compass last week, the across-the-board pay reduction would affect all civil service departments as well as some statutory authorities and government-owned companies as of July 1 – the beginning of the upcoming budget year.Civil Service Association President James Watler said that reduction means a cut in monthly pension allotments government workers receive. Also, any older civil servants retiring under the defined benefit pension system next year would end up taking a lower monthly pension payment, since their final pensions are based on their last month’s salary before retirement.Both situations could be avoided, Watler said, if government would implement the pay cut as a furlough – essentially giving government employees unpaid days off.This would allow those workers to keep both their current pay grade as well as any pension payments, he said. Civil servants would likely have to take four or five days off for the year to make the 3.2 per cent pay cut.“Taking unpaid leave would help protect pensions and it would not have a direct impact on civil servants’ salary grades,” he said. “We urge government to consider this option.”As far as the pay cut itself, he said the idea was actually suggested earlier this year by the association, although they proposed it only as a temporary measure.“The Civil Service Association has always stepped up to the plate when called upon to do so,” Watler said.(