A salary increase for government workers is expected in 2016. Indeed, its time for the government to address the widening gap in salaries of workers in the public and private sectors.
The reported budget of more than 50 billion pesos for the salary increase of government workers in 2016 is certainly not enough but it is a good start of what is hopefully a firm government program and not just a token from an outgoing president.
President Benigno S. Aquino III’s recognition of the need to raise the salary of government workers “to at least 70 percent of their private sector counterparts” is a positive development. But if the President really wants to solve the problem he should act on it now and not “gamble” on whether the next president will have the same recognition.
Obviously, a new law that will increase the salary of government workers will be the strongest expression of the Aquino Administration’s resolve to address the problem.
The Aquino Administration should also be credited for institutionalizing the Performance Based Bonus system in government. Indeed, not all government agencies are “created” equal.
In line with the principle of spending the people’s money for the people, only bonuses that are based on performance makes sense. Why should the people’s money be spent for bonuses of workers in non-performing or poorly performing government agencies?
Particularly in the context of public service, bonuses should only be given when it serves the public interests. Bonuses are not among the “inherent” rights of government workers but are rewards for doing well in serving the public.
In fact, if the government really wants government workers to be at par with their private sector counterparts, it should seriously consider mechanisms that will grant better than good performers in government higher salaries and not just higher bonuses.
As things currently stand, government workers who have the same position level receive the same salary even if others are performing exceptionally better. We can expect better performance from government workers if what they earn monthly will be based on how well they performed. This system has a stronger effect on performance than a performance-based system because government workers receive bonuses less frequently.
Indeed, performance-based bonuses and salaries are among the needed system reforms to improve the performance of government workers and agencies. (DR. RAMON RICARDO A. ROQUE)