The 2021 public service wage agreement made provision for the payment of a monthly non-pensionable cash allowance to all public service employees with effect of 1 April 2021 and the implementation of a once-off pensionable salary adjustment of 1.5%, with effect from 1 July2021, for those employees employed in the public service on 1 April 2021 who did not qualify for pay progression in respect of the applicable performance cycle. A salary adjustment of 1,5%, as per normal, would also be effected for employees who qualified for pay progression in 2021.
The non-pensionable cash allowance was implemented on 16 September 2021 and all NAPTOSA public service members should have received their backpay to 1 April 2021 and the subsequent payment of the allowance on a monthly basis. Sadly, this is not true for some of our members in TVET and CET colleges, prompting NAPTOSA to engage both the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to correct this unacceptable situation.
The payment of the allowance will continue up to 31 March 2022, but if no new agreement is reached by that date regarding the 2022/2023 salary adjustment, the allowance will remain in force until a new agreement is entered into by the parties.
The Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) has now issued a Directive on the implementation of the 1,5% salary increase. As indicated above, this increase was to be applicable to only those employees who would not have qualified for pay progression in terms of the applicable sectoral pay progression systems, while those who qualified for pay progression was supposed to have had their salaries adjusted on 1 July 2021 with 1,5%.
Members will, however, know that the normal pay progression has, as yet, not been paid out. The reason for this is that the dual system of some employees receiving normal pay progression of 1,5% while the non-qualifying employees were to receive the once-off pensionable salary adjustment of 1,5% (both groups with effect from 1 July 2021) created certain complexities for the PERSAL system. It has therefore been decided that all employees who had been employed in the public service on 1 April 2021 will receive the once-off pensionable salary adjustment of 1,5% with effect from 1 July 2021 by adjusting the salary notches that they were on, on that date, by 1,5%. To accommodate this approach, new salary scales will be issued.
Please note that for employees who qualified for pay progression in 2021, the 1,5% once-off pensionable salary adjustment replaces the 1,5% pay progression for this year. In other words, such employees will not receive a 1,5% salary adjustment and 1,5% pay progression, otherwise it would be a case of “double-dipping”. From 2022 the normal pay progression provisions will again apply, i.e. employees who qualify will receive 1,5% pay progression on 1 July of a year.
Apart from employees who qualified for pay progression in 2021, the following non-qualifying employees will also receive the 1,5% once-off pensionable salary adjustment:
- Employees who are on the maximum notches of their salary scales
- Employees on personal notches outside their standard salary scales
- Employees who received unsatisfactory assessments
- Employees who have not yet completed the qualifying periods for pay progression
According to the DPSA the 1,5% once-off pensionable salary adjustment will be effected programmatically. An assurance was given by the Department that the implementation would occur by latest 30 November 2021, by which date members should have their salary notches adjusted and their backpay to 1 July 2021 paid to them.
While the MPSA’s Directive is only applicable to Public Service Act personnel, we trust that the Minister of Basic Education will authorize the adjustment for our public service educator members to enable simultaneous implementation for all public service employees. It is assumed that the DBE will follow the same approach as the DPSA by adjusting 1 July 2021 salary notches by 1,5%. Should the DBE, however, take a different approach, members will be informed accordingly.