Richardson updates on issues related to justice workers

Richardson updates on issues  related to justice workers

Justice Minister Anna Richardson in Parliament on Tuesday.

PHILIPSBURG--Justice Minister Anna Richardson on Tuesday made a presentation in Parliament in which she updated on the issues related to justice workers, including their function book, legal status regulation and salary tables for police.

She stressed, during the public meeting on the 2023 budget amendment, that the support of Parliament is needed to achieve these milestones.

In her presentation, she provided responses to some frequently-asked questions on the matter. Richardson explained that the retroactive enforcement of the Function Book and salary tables will allow for the corrective placement of all eligible justice employees, both active and inactive (estimated 760 employees). The period of the analysis is from October 10, 2010, to December 31, 2023.

She said the one-off cost for the retroactive payment for civil servants as a result of the retroactive enforcement of the function book and salary tables from October 10, 2010, up to the end of 2023 is estimated at NAf. 44,588,500.

This estimated amount accounts for allowances, overtime and the social premium and pension premium contribution of both employee and employer. This estimate only becomes final based on the ratified decrees of each eligible person in the scope.

Based on the estimated impact as of 2024 and the disbursement plan, the budget allocation of 4-6 million to accommodate the placement phases is anticipated.

In explaining why 3.2 million is budgeted for 2023, Richardson said the 2023 budget only accounts for the effects of phase 1 of the placement process, which is the placement of the active personnel per January 1, 2023, and thus sufficiently accounts for the needed budget implication of this phase as it will be realised regarding the 2023 expenses.

There will be four placement phases: Phase 1, active personnel with no objection as per January 1, 2023; Phase 2, active personnel with no objection correction decrees from October 10, 2010, to December 31, 2022; Phase 3, inactive personnel with no objection

correction decrees for the period October 10, 2010 to December 31, 2022; and Phase 4, inactive and active personnel with objections.

Each phase will produce a ratified national decree (LB), for which the eligible forthcoming payments can begin from the individual national decrees (LBs) that are in an irrevocable state, with no objections or appeals.

She stressed that the budget amendment 2023 first has to be passed, adapting the needed amendments in relation to the debt tally.

“Then the governor has to sign the legislative package after this amendment 2023 budget has been passed. Then the process of placement and the individual LBs that follow out of the placement process can continue, starting with Phase 1 as indicated, followed by the actionable payments derived from the individual LBs that are in an irrevocable state, with no objections or appeals,” Richardson explained.

In answering the frequently-asked question as to when this will happen she said, “Rest assured, we are actively working towards achieving the earliest payment date possible. With the approval of this amended budget 2023, we will be able to advance the process to His Excellency the Governor.

“After His Excellency signs the LBHAM and enactment LBs, co-signed by the Minister of Justice, the initial batch of LBs will be promptly dispatched to the Governor, and upon their signed return, the Ministry of Justice will follow suit.”

In her presentation, she also gave an insight into what the overtime regulation will look like.

She also clarified how the payments that some justice workers received in 2020 and 2023 will be handled and answered whether they will have to be paid back. She said all payments that have been made to some justice personnel resulting from the memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2019 entered into by former Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings were made payable to the justice personnel as a salary advance towards their individual corrections in accordance with the agreement made.

“The employees who have received payments have been directly informed that all wages that have been received, including any advance payments, are to be reconciled within the context of the retroactive calculation of their national decree. The final calculation can only be determined after their decree is in an irrevocable state,” she explained.

In responding to the frequently-asked question on whether she can give insight into how justice workers will be able to monitor the payment disbursements received and what is still owed, she said each LB issued will ultimately be sent to Finance through to the Salary and Wages division. The final tally owed will be reconciled and placed on the payslip of the employee.

As for how justice workers will be impacted by the taxes and other social and pension premiums to be withheld, Richardson said each employee that is eligible for a retroactive correction shall be subjected to the contributions of social and pension premiums over that income. Similarly, the wage tax to be withheld shall also be applicable.

Each employee can request a special tax rate on this income via the Tax Inspectorate, based on their issued decree. For those who have been granted a special tax rate this will be communicated to the salary and wages division and applied to that employee’s payments.

The Daily Herald

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