Civil Servants Welcome Pay Revision

Civil Servants Welcome Pay Revision

During the 9th session of the Third Parliament on June 9th, 2023, the finance ministry presented the highly anticipated Pay Revision 2023 bill, putting an end to months of speculation and discussions surrounding the proposed changes to civil servants’ salaries. Seeing the figures on different social media platforms, civil servants are in a euphoric mood. 

“I had just finished one of my classes, when I saw the pay revision posted on social media. I could not believe it. When I entered the other class, a student smiled. I asked why, and he said, I looked very happy and I indeed am. I thank His Majesty and the government,” a teacher from Trashigang said, when asked about her reaction to the pay revision.The same sentiments are shared by civil servants that the paper spoke to.

Dorji Wangchuk, Assistant Procurement Officer from Zhemgang said that he had not anticipated such a hike. “We understand that the country’s economy is not in shape and thought that the raise will not be substantial. However, I am getting a raise of more than Nu 12,000, per month, which will benefit me immensely,” he said, adding that he remembers the words of His Majesty, who has always said that the people are His Majesty’s concern. “This pay revision says everything,” he said.

A civil servant from Dagana district said that when he saw the revised pay on social media, he though it was fake news. “With the former pay, it was just hand to mouth. This will definitely benefit us and will motivate civil servants to work harder,” he said.

Khedrup Dorji, working in the policy and planning division (PPD) of the Energy and Natural Resources division said he too never expected such a raise. “It is generosity of the state. Where in the world would public servants get a hike of such a magnitude, when the country’s economy is not healthy,” he said. Khedrup added that apart from several reasons for the raise, it is His Majesty’s concerns, love and compassion for all Bhutanese. “Along with such incentives come responsibilities and I hope that all civil servants will give their best.”

“I cannot speak for other civil servants. But I am overwhelmed,” a civil servant and single mother said. “Every month I had to worry about expenses, beginning from house rent to requirements of my children going to school. And it was stressful, which sometimes used to even affect my work,” she added. “I have never been relieved like I am today. I have worked hard and I will continue this with renewed vigor,” she said.

Another civil servant from Samdrup Jongkhar said, the salary hike is a “soelra(gift)” from His Majesty the King. “In addition to love and compassion, the soelra also symbolizes expectation and hope from His Majesty that we will work hard to achieve His Majesty’s vision. And all civil servants should keep this in mind.” However, she said that whenever there is a hike in salary, house rents increase. “No one talks about the Tenancy Act of Bhutan and there is inflation, too. Respective agencies should ensure that this does not happen,” she said.

Meanwhile, deliberations on the pay revision will be held on June 21, in the joint sitting of the parliament. “Everyone is satisfied with the revision and so I do not think that there will be any alterations during the deliberation,” a sitting member of parliament (MP) said.

According to Article 30, Section 1 of Bhutan’s Constitution, “There shall be a Pay Commission, headed by a Chairperson, which shall be autonomous and shall be constituted, from time to time, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.”

Section 2 of the Article says that the Pay Commission shall recommend to the Government revisions in the structure of the salary, allowances, benefits, and other emoluments of the Royal Civil Service, the Judiciary, the members of Parliament and Local Governments, the holders and the members of constitutional offices and all other public servants with due regard to the economy of the Kingdom and other provisions of this Constitution.

Section 3 says that he recommendations of the Commission shall be implemented only on the approval of the Lhengye Zhungtshog and subject to such conditions and modifications as may be made by Parliament.

Meanwhile, the bill includes various increments for different levels of government employees. The highest percentage of pay increase, at nearly 74%, is allocated to employees at the 04 level. Presently, those at the O4 level receive a basic pay ranging from Nu 10,550 to Nu 13,775 (revised in 2019 from Nu 8,505). After the pay revision of 2023, their basic pay will rise to Nu 18,355 to Nu 21,580.

Employees at the O3 level will receive a 73% increment. Currently, their basic salary ranges from Nu 11,355 to Nu 14,805, but after the 73% increment, they will earn Nu 19,605 to Nu 23,055.

Similarly, employees at the O2 level, Tsogpa in the local government, and Thromde Thuemi will receive a 71% increment. This means that O2 employees will earn Nu 21,370 to Nu 25,120, while Tsogpa and Thromde Thuemi will earn Nu 20,845 to Nu 22,070.

The new pay revision grants a 70% increment to employees at the S5 and O1 levels. After the revision, the basic salary for O1 level employees will range from Nu 22,615 to Nu 26,665, and for S5 level employees, it will range from Nu 23,045 to Nu 27,170.

Civil servants at the S4 level will receive a 65% increment, resulting in a basic salary of Nu 24,250 to Nu 28,675.

Employees under the S3 category will enjoy a 64% increment, with their basic salary ranging between Nu 27,130 to Nu 32,155.

Similarly, civil servants at the S2 and S1 levels will receive a 63% increment, resulting in a basic pay range of Nu 30,710 to Nu 35,025 for S2 and S1 level employees, while S1 employees will earn Nu 32,455 to Nu 38,455.

Civil servants in the P5 category are eligible for a 62% increment, raising their salary to Nu 33,500 to Nu 39,725.

Meanwhile, civil servants in the P4 and P3 categories, Dzongkhag thromde thuemi in the local government, and Mangmi will receive a 59% increment. This adjustment will increase the salary for P4 category employees to Nu 40,090 to Nu 47,665 and for P3 category employees to Nu 44,890 to Nu 53,440. Dzongkhag thromde thuemi and Mangmi employees will earn between Nu 39,410 to Nu 41,910.

Additionally, civil servants in the P2 and P1 categories, as well as gups in the local government, will receive a 58% increment. After the increment, the basic pay for P2 category employees will range from Nu 51,065 to Nu 60,815, while for P1 employees, it will range from Nu 57,685 to Nu 68,710. Gups will earn between Nu 52,210 to Nu 55,510.

Despite the lower percentage of increment, the executive level employees at EX3/ES3 will receive a salary increase ranging from Nu 68,385 to Nu 81,660. Similarly, those at the EX2/ES2 level will see their pay rise to Nu 80,905 to Nu 96,580.

Civil servants under the EX2/ES1 category will experience a substantial pay adjustment, with their salaries increasing to Nu 96,440 to Nu 115,115 after the implementation of the Pay Revision 2023.

Moving on, the cabinet members, government secretaries, and thrompon (mayor) will receive a 55% increment. Following the increment, the basic pay for cabinet members will range from Nu 130,480 to Nu 138,905, government secretaries will earn Nu 114,460 to Nu 121,850, and the thrompon’s salary will be set between Nu 80,905 and Nu 86,130.

Additionally, all current members of the National Assembly, including the prime minister, will be entitled to a 50% salary hike. On the other hand, new National Assembly members, members of the National Council, the Privy Council, judiciary personnel, and employees of autonomous bodies such as the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Royal Audit Authority (RAA), Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), and Office of the Attorney General (OAG), will enjoy a 55% increment in their salaries

Tshering Pelden & Sherab Dorji from Thimphu