SONAM PENJOR | Thimphu
If the Pay Structure Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 is approved by the Parliament, the allowances and benefits for public servants would be tied to specific positions and circumstances and would vary with change in positions and circumstances.
Finance Minister, Lyonpo Namgay Tshering, as member in-charge of the bill, introduced the Pay Structure Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 for deliberation to the house on 14 November,
Lyonpo said the proposed pay structure comprises fixed pay and variable pay, where the fixed pay comprises of Monthly Basic Pay which would be applied for the calculation of post-service benefits and other computations currently pegged to the basic pay.
Further, non-pensionable monthly pay which includes existing allowances will be applicable across the board like house rent allowance and communication allowance.
However, while there are 30 different kinds of allowances, the pay stub for public employees is unclear.
Lyonpo gave the public employee’s monthly wage as an illustration and that if we were to inquire about the monthly compensation, he claimed, one would reveal only the basic pay.
The minister said that there is lot of administrative burden especially with the allowances. Lyonpo further submitted that the Pay Structure Reform Bill of Bhutan 2022 is to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the public service in line with the ongoing transformation efforts.
He added that a clean wage system, where various allowances will be grouped into one single wage and provide a pay structure that is free from hidden benefits, were some of the reforms.
The allowances would be included in the monthly variable compensation under the variable pay, as per the Pay Structure Bill of Bhutan 2022.
For instance, health practitioners on night duty for 12 hours as part of a regular schedule needing continuous patient care would receive a night duty allowance of Nu 500 per night.
According to the document, the Ministry of Finance would decide on who qualified for a radiation allowance of up to Nu 3,000 per month after consulting the Ministry of Health.
While the difficulty area allowance would be paid up to a maximum ceiling of Nu 10,000 per month, the difficulty areas would be determined by the Ministry of Finance upon approval of the Government.
In a similar vein, the pay structure bill stipulates that the contract allowance would be offered up to 30 percent of the monthly basic pay for flexibility in the pay system to recruit talent on a contract basis to fill capacity shortfalls and other urgent human resource (HR) requirements.
While a public employee posted to locations between 10,000 and 12,000 feet is entitled to Nu 2,000 per month, locations over 12,000 feet are entitled to Nu 3,000 per month as high-altitude allowance.
Additionally, if a public employee working at the S5 level or below is required to work overtime, weekends, or official holidays by their supervisor, they will get an overtime allowance.
Further, the carriage charges for personal effects during transfer or retirement would be subjected to the terms and conditions which includes, among others, that the public servants must submit a claim based on the distance and the rates prescribed by the RSTA.
The amount claimed or the ceiling prescribed, whichever is less would be paid.
However, transfer and retirement within a 10 kms radius is not eligible for the carriage of personal effects, transfer grant and transfer TA.
According to the pay structure bill, a public servant would be entitled to transfer grant while on transfer or retirement equivalent to one-month basic pay. A public servant while on transfer, a public servant would be entitled to TA as travel expenditure for self (TA/DA-bus fare or mileage) and family (bus fare).
If mileage is claimed instead of the bus fare, the family members shall not be eligible to claim the bus fare.
The Ministry of Finance will decide and announce the trainee allowance for the BCSE selected graduates undergoing pre-service training, which will be Nu 5,000 per month.
Additionally, it adds that Dzongkhag mask and folk dancers would earn a monthly allowance of Nu 2,500, while Dhodhams, Champones, Chamjubs, and Tsipoens would receive a monthly allowance of Nu 3,000.
The Bill was referred to the Economics and Finance Committee as a Money Bill for further review and consultation after receiving the support of the House to deliberate on it.
The parliament directed the committee to report back with its findings and recommendations on the 21st and 22nd of November.