The Ministry of the Public Service (MPS) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) will meet next Wednesday, September 8, to discuss the adjustment to the “session” worked by watchmen in the public sector.
This disclosure has come from Director General – Human Resources, Ministry of the Public Service, Gail Atkins, who said the two sides had agreed to the meeting.
However, she stressed that MPS “has not altered” the rate of pay for watchmen, as she explained that they would now work an eight-hour session, instead of a 12-hour one. “There is a reduction of the hours, but the rate of pay for the session has not changed, so employees will continue to earn $78.36 per session. The intent is to provide them with better working conditions and to align with other policies that seek to enhance the quality of work-life balance of public service employees.
“The adjustment is not to their detriment, but their advantage. We have advised ministries and departments that if a watchman is required to be on duty in excess of the eight hours from the start of his session, he should receive overtime proportionate to his rate of pay,” Ms. Atkins noted.
Therefore, the Director General said, there should be no change to the number of sessions worked by watchmen employed in the public sector. The Director General explained that a watchman in the public sector is engaged on a per-session basis, previously defined as a 12-hour period of work, with wages payable at the rate of $78.36. However, since Parliament approved the Minimum Wage (National and Sectoral Minimum Wage) Order, 2021, the Ministry of the Public Service recently sent a circular advising that the rate of wages paid must be in line with this legislation and that the session has been re-defined as a period of eight hours.