Salary supplements are inequitably distributed by the Adjaran government
The government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara adopted a decree on 21 January 2015 that defines new salary supplement amounts for government officials and public servants. According to the document, high-ranking officials saw an almost twofold increase of their monthly salary, while supplements for lower-level public servants were set to less than half of their monthly wage.
According to the decree:
- The chairperson of the government, ministers, their deputies, heads of subordinate agencies, and assistants and advisers to ministers will receive monthly supplements equal to 75% of their monthly salary starting January 2015.
- Heads of the Administration and the General Inspection, department heads and the Chief Accountant will receive supplements equal to 60% of their monthly salary.
- Division heads inside departments will receive supplements equal to 50% of their monthly salary.
- Chief specialists, lead specialists, and assistant (technical) employees will receive supplements equal to 40% of their monthly salary.
On 28 January 2015 the Minister of Finance and Economy of Adjara Davit Baladze held a press conference where he presented the new rules for salary supplements. The minister did not provide an explanation for why the Adjara government was adopting salary changes that would leave specialists working at government agencies dissatisfied.
Baladze also stated at the press conference that ministers of the Adjaran Autonomous Republic, their deputies and appointed persons would no longer receive bonuses and their overtime work would be compensated only with salary supplements. According to Baladze, bonuses would only be issued to heads and specialists of departments and divisions.
Despite the minister’s statement, the existing legislation and the decree adopted by the Adjara government do not prohibit the chairman of the government, ministers, their deputies, and appointed persons from taking bonuses in addition to receiving salary supplements.
Public information requested by TI Georgia from the Adjara Government Office confirmed that government members have not taken any bonuses in January-February 2015. However, in December 2014 ministers of the autonomous republic, heads of subordinate agencies and the head of government office received bonuses on two separate occasions on December 24 and December 29.
Head of government office explains in a letter sent to TI Georgia that Decree #9 adopted by the Autonomous Republic of Adjara on January 21, 2015 envisions issuing monthly supplements.
Even though the Law on Public Service does not apply to public officials, Article 37 Paragraph 2 defines specific rules for issuing salary supplements. According to these rules, head of a government agency has the right to grant additional salary supplements to an employee during a financial year for overtime or especially important work. This must be done through established rules within the limits of extra funds available in the salary budget each year. In addition, according to a resolution adopted by the Georgian Government on 19 November 2014, a salary supplement is defined as a temporary increase in salary due to various objective factors such as work location or overtime work. The increase in salary lasts only for as long as the objective factor is in place.
Therefore, granting monthly supplements to Adjara government officials violates the general principle of issuing salary supplements, according to which, supplements can be used as a temporary and not a monthly measure.
As for the rules for issuing bonuses, Resolution #27 adopted by the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara on 1 August 2014 defined the list of persons with the right to receive bonuses (these include persons employed at the government office, ministries, and subordinate agencies of the government and the ministries of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara). The resolution also set the amount and frequency of issuing bonuses. A bonus is issued once per quarter as well as three times a year for specific holidays. The amount must not exceed the employee’s monthly salary. However, the resolution includes additional rules for issuing higher bonuses more frequently to public servants.
TI Georgia believes that the decree on salary supplements adopted by the government of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara serves to increase salaries specifically for public officials. The document fails to consider the interests of lower-level public servants, which may establish a principle of inequality in the public service. The decree is also not in line with the general principle of issuing salary supplements prescribed by the law.