Scottish civil servants ‘could be offered four-day week’; Singapore officials set for pay rise; hunt for UN climate chief: management & workforce news in brief

By on 09/06/2022 | Updated on 09/06/2022
A picture of the Scottish Government headquarters St Andrews House lit up red to mark the start of the Poppy Scotland appeal
Scottish Government headquarters St Andrews House, here pictured red to mark the start of the Poppy Scotland appeal. Photo Scottish Government

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Scottish civil servants could be offered four-day week – in exchange for pay restraint 

Civil servants working for the devolved Scottish Government in the UK could participate in a pilot of a four-day working week, according to a new fiscal outlook.

In a medium-term financial strategy published on 31 May, the Scottish Government said it was “committed to exploring with trade unions and employers further opportunities for developing non-pay benefits”, and that the public sector would be invited to participate in a pilot of the scheme.

The document stated that the government would have “a fair but fiscally sustainable approach to public sector pay” given that the pay bill is equivalent to half of the Scottish Government resource budget.

The document said that a four-day working week could therefore “in the longer term… be an opportunity to limit the cost burden of pay awards to employers, act as a lever to improve productivity, and optimise the role of automation and digitalisation of services, all while creating high value job opportunities and contributing to the wellbeing economy”.

The document also stated that the scope for pay increases for civil servants in Scotland would likely be limited at a time when the UK government is keeping a tight control on the paybill. The UK government has said that departments will be able to make average pay awards up to 2%, and the Scottish Government said there are ongoing negotiations over 2022-23 settlements. The next pay policy will be confirmed alongside the 2023-24 Scottish Budget.

23,000 Singapore civil servants in line for pay increases

Around 23,000 public servants in Singapore are to benefit from a pay increase of up to 14% after the government’s public service division announced the planned uprating for the first time since 2014.

Under the plan, officials will get pay increases from 1 August, dependent on their role in government.

According to The Strait Times, civil servants in the management executive, management support, and corporate support schemes will receive pay increases of between 5%-10%, with higher adjustments for grades that have larger gaps with market benchmark. Those in operational roles will receive higher adjustments of between 6-14%.

However, not all public servants are included in the planned salary hike. It will not apply to civil servants in specialised schemes, such as accountants, police officers, teachers, and foreign service officers.

The increase is needed to ensure pay rates in the civil service keep pace with the market and allow it to continue to attract and retain talent, the government’s public service division said.

COP26 chief could become UN’s top climate official

The president of the COP26 conference could become the United Nation’s top climate change official, according to reports.

According to the Guardian, Alok Sharma has been approached about taking over from Patricia Espinosa as the executive secretary of the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Espinosa has held the role since July 2016, and will step down next month. Sharma, who chaired the conference in Glasgow last year that led to a number of pledges from countries to cut carbon emissions, has reportedly indicated he would be interested in the post.

However, Sharma will not be the only candidate for the role, with some developing nations preferring a candidate from a country in the global south. Applications for the three-year job, which carries a salary of US$207,000, close on 24 June. The form says women would be “especially welcome”.

White House interns to be paid as US federal government seeks to boost recruitment of future leaders

The decision comes after heads of US agencies eager to draw young talent to the federal government pushed for stronger incentives for college students and new graduates to enrol in the 14-week internship programme.

The White House said paid internships would make federal employment accessible to a more diverse range of young applicants.

“Unpaid federal internships have been a barrier to hardworking and talented students and professionals, preventing them from contributing their talents and skills to the country and holding them back from federal career advancement opportunities,” it said in a statement on 2 June.

“Paying White House interns will help remove barriers to equal opportunity for low-income students and first-generation professionals at the beginnings of their careers.”

The White House said the plan would also ensure that the yearly intake of interns “reflect[s] the diversity of America”, and that this would benefit leadership across the whole of the federal government.

Read more: White House interns to be paid as US federal government seeks to boost recruitment of future leaders

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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