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Govt Wants More Public Officers to Get Study Leave With Pay

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Contact: Prime Minister's Press Secretary


Thursday, March 30, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony says a recent Cabinet Conclusion regarding the granting of study leave with pay for Public Servants in receipt of scholarships is aimed at ensuring that more Public Officers can have an equal opportunity to benefit from study leave with pay.

By Cabinet Conclusion dated February 27, 2006, Government has decided that that, effective March 1, 2006 “a public officer receiving a scholarship award and who would normally have been eligible for a Study Leave With Pay award, will be entitled only to the difference between the annual value of the scholarship and his/her basic salary.”

Last week, the President of the St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), Mr Joseph Dosserie, issued a public statement condemning what he described as “the unilateral change in the position of granting of study leave with pay for public officers receiving a scholarship award.”

The union claimed in its March 22 statement that the Cabinet Conclusion ran “contrary to the provisions of the duly signed collective agreement between the Government and the CSA.”

But the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of Finance, says he does not think that is so.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Prime Minister Anthony said this week that contrary to the impression given by the union, “the Government is anxious to give more formal training to more Public Servants.

He said this was so because “the number of public officers applying for study leave with pay has substantially increased over the years.”

Dr Anthony explained that the Cabinet Conclusion specifically targeted public servants receiving scholarships for study abroad, “because, in most instances, their study is paid for by the donor agency or government and then they still apply for study leave with pay at home.”

Such persons, the PM said, “would thus be receiving double benefits, while others cannot get study leave with pay.”

The Prime Minister said that “with hundreds more public officers applying for study leave with pay, Government has to look closely at how the benefits are shared across the Public Service.”

In this regard, he said, Cabinet has decided that “when it comes to public servants receiving scholarship awards that include payment for their studies, Government will pay the difference between the annual value of the award and his or her basic annual salary.”

“Whatever savings are realised from this approach,” said Dr Anthony, “will be spread across the board so that others in the service who have also applied can also be granted study leave with pay.”

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