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‘Excessive’ Leave Payout Queried

“Excessive” annual leave payout to staff of the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations was raised yesterday during submissions to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the 2016
22 Mar 2018 11:31
‘Excessive’ Leave Payout Queried
SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro

“Excessive” annual leave payout to staff of the Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations was raised yesterday during submissions to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the 2016 Auditor-General’sReport.

Opposition Member of Parliament Aseri Radrodro questioned ministry Permanent Secretary Salaseini Daunabuna on the issue, saying that according to the general audit and the government circular no officer was allowed to be paid more than 10 days excess (carried forward) of their prescribed annual leave.

He said in the case of the Employment Ministry, the excess was paid out.

Mr Radrodro further asked Mrs Daunabuna if any action was taken on the staff or the person responsible for the payout against the General Orders.

The ministry’s then Acting Manager Corporate Services Louise Shackley responded that the general orders stipulated that the payout was done with the approval of the PS in exceptional cases.

She said they had to write submissions to the PS to ask if they could pay the staff or call them back to work.

Ms Shackley said at one point they had sent a staff member on leave, but had to write a submission to the PS asking if he could return because services were on hold.

Deputy Chair Mohammed Dean said it may have been that the leave policy was in place and the staff could not take leave because they had to be called back for some specialised work.

“So in cases like this it does not necessarily become the fault of the ministry itself because there is a demand for the ministry to provide a certain service and probably that is the reason he was called back again,” Mr Dean said.

Ministry of Economy Director of Internal Audit and Good Governance Emosi Dovibua said the issue showed ineffective management of annual leave.

Director of Audit from the Office of the Auditor-General Moshin Ali said having excessive leave had a lot of negative implications on the ministry in that monetary compensation had to be paid, office leave awarded, non-training of staff and no segregation of duties.

The ministry was queried on succession plans to better address the issue and the availability of suitable people to relieve staff on leave.

The ministry responded that specialised training was not available locally and they had to identify staff and send them overseas for training.

Mrs Daunabuna said the ministry experienced a high turnover of staff, losing one staff member every three months.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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