NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle said yesterday that the government has made a “carefully considered” policy decision not to “lay-off any public officers” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rolle maintained the government has implemented a public service hiring freeze during a Minister’s Report press conference yesterday.
He said the public service represents the single largest employee base in the country, with over 20,000 persons employed in the sector.
“The government of the Bahamas made a carefully considered policy decision not to lay off any public officer due to the financial challenges of COVID-19,” said Rolle.
“As the public service is the heartbeat of the nation, public officers have also been the heartbeat of the economy through this difficult time.
Rolle also noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift system has been implemented to support social distancing in ministries and departments. He also noted that employees with compromised health systems have been allowed to work remotely upon receipt of a medical certificate from a registered physician.
Rolle said: “Increments, promotions, confirmations, and re-classifications of all public officers will be deferred for the 2020/2021 budget year. The number of persons in each ministry will not increase. New hires will only occur in special circumstances with direct Cabinet approval.”
He said those increments, confirmations, and re-classifications will resume when the economic circumstances allow, with the deferment amounting to “millions of dollars” the government does not have to spend at this time.