THE Solomon Islands Government (SIG) has on Tuesday authorised that all public servants serving under non-essential services will have to take emergency paid leave of absence as part of its strategy to mitigate local transmission of COVID-19 once it reaches Honiara and other provincial headquarters.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service Nego Sisiolo in a circular Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) issued to all permanent secretaries and senior officials stated that the order became effective as of 26th March 2020 until further notice, a statement issued by the Government Communication Unit said.
Sisiolo said the officers concerned will have their salaries paid in full for the first 30 days of leave and thereafter, remunerations will be paid at 50% until recall for duty.
“Upon resumption of duty, officer’s salaries will be reinstated in full and the 50% withheld during emergency leave will then be repaid,” he said.
He added that salaries of non-established employees in grades 1 and 2 shall continue to be paid in full whether they are on emergency leave or not.
Sisiolo said public officers taking emergency leave shall be supported with traveling assistance of $2,500 as a one-off payment irrespective of their leave destinations.
“This shall be processed by your respective ministries/agencies payroll officers,” he said.
He further added that essential service ministries and agencies will continue to discharge services as usual and are advised to adhere to all occupational health and safety measures in the course of duty.
“Any essential services officers who may have a serious, pre-existing health condition are advised to consult your respective responsible officers should you wish to take an emergency leave of absence from work,” he said.
Sisiolo further instructed that all government officers at the executive and senior management levels across the public service such as permanent secretaries, undersecretaries, directors, financial controllers and human resource managers to work at home and keep listening out for further Cabinet directives or the Disaster Management Committee instructions for any necessary actions to take.
“Where practicable, responsible officers could assign government policy priorities to senior officers to work from home and update through available information communication technology,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI