Government explains bonus position: ‘Its morally wrong to reward laziness’

Source: Government explains bonus position: ‘Its morally wrong to reward laziness’ | The Sunday News

Government explains bonus position: ‘Its morally wrong to reward laziness’
Prof Paul Mavima

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter

THE Government has reaffirmed its position on this year’s civil servants’ bonuses saying those who fail to meet the mark on  performance-based contracts signed at the beginning of the year are going to miss out on the 13th cheque.

Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima said in an interview yesterday that there was nothing out of the ordinary in the system adopted by the Government this year. He said it was morally wrong to reward laziness, adding that only those that performed satisfactorily will be awarded a bonus.

“This is how contracts are managed and the Public Service Commission (PSC) administers those. However, all those people who will be subjected to this, have contracts that they were given and signed at the beginning of the year. The bonuses are, however, based on those performance contracts,” he said.

He said the indicators set out in the performance-based contracts should be adhered to.

“The performance indicators are clear so each and every one of them have to be completed. So, those who do well on those indicators are the ones who are going to get the bonus. Those who do not, are not going to get the bonuses. That is standard practice across the globe,” said Prof Mavima.

Last week during his farewell party, outgoing Public Service Commission Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutaunashe said the practice had always been there, but was not being implemented and will start being effective with the 2022 bonuses.

“One hopes that every public service employee will get a good bonus, but the principle is very straight forward. If the service is excellent, you get an excellent bonus. If it is very good you get a very good bonus and for good service you get a good bonus. But if it’s nothing, you embrace nothing,” he said.

Amb Wutaunashe said public servants that perform beyond the call of duty will be awarded accordingly. The call for bonuses to be awarded according to performance prompted some ministries to remind their employees on appraisals that need to be completed and used to award the bonuses.

Mrs Cecilia Alexander

In a memorandum gleaned by  Sunday News, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Air Commodore Dr Jasper Chimedza instructed that members of staff in the Ministry from Deputy Director Level and below be appraised as per the standard requirements. Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) president Mrs Cecilia Alexander, however, said the union was not content with the decision by the Government.

“Following the pronouncements made by the Government that the 2022 annual bonus is going to be paid according to Results Based Management System (RBMS); ZCPSTU would want to express its discontentment over this prejudice of a working condition and perceive the Government as negotiating in bad faith. Taking into account the fact that the RBMS cycle runs for 12 months, it therefore renders the current cycle incomplete,” she said.

Mrs Alexander said the Government had reneged on its previous position of agreeing to pay the 2022 bonuses to all civil servants. Last year permanent secretaries signed performance contracts and extended them to ministers, heads of local authorities, State owned enterprises and State universities this year. This was done as the Second Republic’s thrust to promote accountability and improve service delivery in the public sector. 

However, president of the Institute of People Management of Zimbabwe Mr Cleopas Chiketa said the move by the Government to award bonuses based on performance was noble and practised in many parts of the world.

“It is a good move and a critical one to award people based on their performance. Countries that are succeeding all over are using this format, in Dubai they managed to transform their economy based on such things. They benchmarked industries to see which ones performed well in various sectors and said they wanted to do just that. This led to their transformation for the better,” he said.

Mr Chiketa said it was critical for the public service to talk about rewarding good performance.

“Once performance is measured then the work is certainly done and must be rewarded accordingly. Systems that are performance based also deliver highly. This issue of a performance-based system must be applied in all sectors, public, private and even in the developmental agencies, the NGOs all their work must be measured, it is critical to embrace performance-based systems of managing a workforce and see how people are delivering,” said Mr Chiketa.