State employees set for pay rise

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State employees set for pay rise

A pay rise for low-ranking civil servants will become effective in April next year, with the Cabinet signing off on an official increase for around 1.98 million state employees following representations made by the Office of the Civil Service Commission.

Apart from providing those on the lower rungs of the state ladder an increase of about 1,000 baht extra per month, the move is aimed at curbing the temptation to be involved in bribery and corruption.

So, for example, state officials on a present salary of 9,000 baht a month will receive an extra 1,000 baht a month. Those who are earning a salary of less than 13,000 baht a month will receive additional allowances that will raise their total wage packet to a maximum of 15,000 baht a month.

At present, state officials receive a base salary each month as well as a cost-of-living allowance, although this is currently at a maximum of 1,500 baht a month. The new wage scale will raise this to 2,000 baht a month. All the new salary scales will be back dated to 1 October this year.

The added salary will require about 16.8 billion baht from national revenues, but the prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, was adamant this was not a populist policy. He said civil servants salaries at the lower levels had been frozen for some time while the cost of living had increased substantially. The increase will merely bring many civil servants’ pay rates into a better line with the private sector.

Additionally, for those civil servants who are not covered by the new wage scale because they are at higher levels, the government has approved a general wage increase of four percent.

Government workers are employed on both part-time and full-time positions, depending on what kind of work is required. There are certain education levels that all state employees must have attained to be eligible to work in government service, and starting salaries as well as starting grades are based around those educational achievements.

With salaries in the private sector for similar education qualifications very often being higher than those of civil servants, it can be difficult for the government to attract the best qualified people to work in their offices and agencies. Apart from the longer-term perceived prestige and retirement pension benefits of being a civil servant, the financial rewards have often come by way of under-the-counter payments.

Whether the new salary levels will be sufficient to curb the actual or perceived levels of bribery in certain areas of the civil service only time will tell.