Nov 21, 2022 News
– says they should be considered in planned salary adjustments for Police, Healthcare Workers
Kaieteur News – Retired Chief Probation & Social Service Officer and Former Head of Childcare & Protection Agency, Ann Greene, has called on Government to adjust the salaries of frontline social care workers as part of its promised package to members of the disciplined services and healthcare.
During the announcement of the eight percent pay hike for Public Servants last week, President said that consistent with the various measures, his Government has taken to assist Guyanese and he has instructed that options be identified for adjustment to the salaries paid to a number of specific categories of Public Sector employees.
These include, in the first phase, ranks of the Police Force, Prison Service, and Fire Service. Additionally, a similar exercise is currently being conducted and recommendations being made in relation to specific categories of employees in the public healthcare system, including Nurses, Interns, Doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
It is against this background that Greene in her letter made the case for the frontline Social Care Workers to be recognised in the special group or category of workers that are being considered for special salary adjustments. She said frontline Social Care Workers, Child Protection Officers and Probation and Social Services Officers are deserving groups and must be considered.
“However, as for me who has lived experiences as a Leader in both of the groups, I have to single out the Child Protection Officers for special mention. This is still a relatively new group of social workers in Guyana’s history and their clients are children, the most vulnerable, but the job entails working with the family. Child Protection work is very challenging with voluminous reports to respond to with insufficient resources and supports. Officers daily have to put up with the negative responses when intervening to protect children and, along with this, there is ongoing media criticism of the Agency not doing enough and failing. However, this is not unique to Guyana, it is normal territory for Child Protection Officers anywhere in the world,” Greene stated.
She said Child Protection work, with no doubt, is demanding and there is no room for lapses, but the remuneration here in Guyana is not encouraging and more so now with new graduates with the master’s level of qualification in Social Work. “They are leaving for more lucrative positions in other fields. There are workforce issues in Child Protection Services, and steps must be taken to address these.”
Pay attention to workers salary
Greene said she is devoting personal time to research what it takes to build a strong workforce in Human Services.
“However, for now, attention needs to be given to the salary. Workers who, overtime, have gained higher qualifications, should earn more to encourage them to stay and decrease the frequent turnover of staff. Being able to do this will be good for the delivery of the service, which is a relationship service – the building of empathetic, caring, and compassionate relationships. Without these there would be no effective interventions, treatment, therapy and client’s personal change and development.”
According to Greene the public service appraisal system must be able to determine who are the effective workers and have the capability to be able to retain these officers, noting that the productive capacity, as was described above, is heavily concentrated in ‘human capital’, which represents the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of employees, developed overtime and cannot be easily transferred to others.
Last week President Ali announced that Government will be paying an across-the-board increase of eight (8) percent to Public Servants, Teachers, members of the Disciplined Services, Constitutional Office Holders, as well as Government Pensioners. This increase will be granted retroactively to 1 January 2022. He said work will start immediately to ensure that this increase is processed and paid to eligible employees together with their December salary.
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