COVID-19 vaccine mandates, public servants’ pay, and the return to the office: Global Government Forum’s top news stories of 2021

By on 28/12/2021 | Updated on 28/12/2021
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris confer together Monday, March 29, 2021, in the outer Oval hallway of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

What you’ve been reading over the last 12 months

This year has once again been dominated by the coronavirus. From the rollout of vaccines – and their mandation for workers in some public services around the world – to the gradual return to some form of office work, the pandemic and its impact has continued to shape the public service news agenda in 2021 – and, if the spread of the omicron variant is anything to go by, this will continue in 2022 as well.

Here are some of Global Government Forum’s most popular stories from the tumultuous 12 months just gone. Thanks to you all for reading. The team at GGF hope to provide you with more great insight in 2022.

Biden administration release details on vaccine mandate for federal workers

The Biden administration’s decision to mandate that all federal workers must be fully vaccinated, with an initial deadline of 22 November, was one of the major stories of the year. As well as reporting on the original edict from the White House, GGF also reported on progress in meeting it, with the commerce and transportation departments top US federal vaccine mandate table.

Canada mandates COVID-19 vaccination for all federal workers

America was not the only country to mandate vaccinations. Canada did likewise, saying in August that the move was needed to help the country reach the high levels of inoculation needed to sustain a recovery from COVID-19, and it was later to put unvaccinated federal workers on unpaid leave.

Australia sets out plans for vaccination certificates

In other parts of the world, GGF reported on the public service implications of the vaccine rollout. This story looked at the details of the Australian government’s plan for vaccination certificates intended to open up international travel, which were also developed by many other countries in 2021. For example, Italy mandated vaccine passports for all government workers.

Pilot project to get Canadian federal workers back to the office

Canada was also among the countries where GGF looked at plans to return to the office, as the rollout of vaccines made it possible for people to move from their makeshift desks at home back into the workplace. This article discussed Public Services and Procurement Canada’s voluntary pathfinder project to support a return to office work, which had more than 200 employees signed up when it was launched in August. That same month, GGF took a look at how governments were developing teleworking policies in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia – with surveys revealing that UK officials were keen to retain remote working.

Biden promises feds a 2.7% pay rise next year

And finally, away somewhat from the issue of the pandemic, pay continued to emerge top of the news agenda. President Joe Biden’s announcement of an average 2.7% pay increase for federal civilian employees in 2022 was one of our top stories. Elsewhere, plans to introduce capability-based pay continued to progress in the UK, while a major independent report into the future of the country’s civil service called for fewer, but better-paid, officials. Meanwhile, as the year came to an end, Biden pledged to “prove government still works” by improving federal services and reducing the “time tax” that Americans pay when they interact with government.

About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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