The Eleventh Pay Revision Commission has recommended a subdued nearly 40 per cent increase in the salary of 5.21 lakh government employees and a commensurate increase in the emoluments of 5.11 lakh pensioners. The revised pay will have retrospective effect from July 1, 2019.
The Commission has recommended that the next revision should be done, not five years later in 2024, but in 2026 after the Central pay revision. The additional financial outgo as a result of the revision, including pension benefits, is estimated to be Rs 4810 crore; last time it was Rs 5277 crore.
COVID-19 stalls a big hike
The basic pay has been raised from Rs 16,500 to Rs 23,000 and the maximum pay from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1,66,800.
The revision, however, could be disappointing for the employees. Commission secretary K Mohandas himself admitted to such a possibility while talking to reporters after submitting the Commission's report to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday. Mohandas said the Commission had recommended a relatively low lower level of salary increase and other benefits on account of COVID-induced resource crunch.
Simple way to calculate revised salary
The revised salary is calculated thus: Basic pay on which the dearness allowance of 28 per cent will be merged, and on top of it there will be a 10 per cent increase.
The Commission secretary offered simple math to calculate the revised pay of all categories of employees. "Multiply the existing basic pay with 1.38 and you get the revised salary," Mohandas said.
For instance, multiply the existing basic pay of Rs 16.500 with 1.38 and you arrive at the figure of 22,770, which has been rounded to Rs 23,000. Similarly, multiply the highest existing basic of Rs 1.2 lakh with 1.38. This throws up a figure of 1,65,600, which has been rounded to Rs 1,66,800.
The '1.38 multiplication factor', Mohandas said, would simplify the pay revision process. Normally, while revising pay, two other factors are added to the basic pay: fitment benefit (a measure of the actual additional financial burden on the Government on account of Pay Revision and also the measure of an actual increase in pay of employees’ consequent to pay revision) and service weightage. Last time, the fitment was 12 per cent of the basic pay. This time, it will be only 10 per cent.
The service weightage is now calculated at 1/2 per cent per completed year (up to a maximum of 15 per cent). This time it has been done away with, considering the resource crunch. The absence of service weightage will further simplify the revision calculation, Mohandas said.
New method for increments
Increments are related to pay and the rate comes down as pay goes up in the master scale. Increment rate is above 3 per cent in the lower levels of pay and shrinks to 2.04 per cent while reaching the maximum pay stage.
The Commission recommends the continuation of this trend but uses the 1.38 multiplication factor to revise the increment rate. The existing minimum increment is Rs 500, which the Commission wants converted by applying the multiplication factor of 1.38.
The Commission has also recommended increment rates as multiples of 100, instead of multiples of 50 as in the existing scales. Hence the minimum increment in the revised scale is fixed at Rs 700 which is 3.04 per cent of the minimum pay.
There are 17 varying incremental stages in the new scales with the maximum increment as Rs 3400 which is 2.08 per cent in the last pay stage.
The number of salary scales would remain at 27. And within these 27 salary scales there would be 83 salary stages as is existing. This is because salaries within even a single scale would vary depending on the years of service put in.
Change in HRA calculation
The biggest change this time will be in the house rent allowance. Till now, it had been a lump sum figure. The Commission has recommended that the HRA should be given as a per cent of the basic pay. This has been a longstanding demand of service organisations.
Nonetheless, Mohandas said that the Commission was unable to recommend a figure that the employees had sought for. In Corporation areas, the Commission has recommended an HRA of 10 per cent of the basic pay, in district municipalities 8 per cent, other municipalities 6 per cent and panchayat areas four per cent. The HRA will range from Rs 1200 to Rs 10,000.
Since HRA has been increased, the Commission has recommended that the city compensatory allowance in urban areas be scrapped.
The pension, too, has been fixed just like the salaries. Multiplying the existing pension with the multiplication factor of 1.38 will give the new pension.
The lowest pension would be Rs 11,500, which is 50 per cent of the minimum of the lowest revised salary scale of Rs 23,000, and the highest Rs 83,400, which is 50 per cent of the revised maximum government salary of Rs 1,66,800. At the moment the lowest and maximum pensions are Rs 8500 and Rs 60,000.
The Commission has also recommended a ‘Special Care Allowance’ of Rs 1,000 a month to pensioners above the age of 80.
The Commission has also not made any changes to the Contributory Pension Scheme.
Special allowance of up to Rs 1500 has been recommended for employees saddled with the heavy workload, like village officers, judicial officers and nursing staff.
The fourth higher grade offered in the 27th year of service, and which is now given only to those in the Police Department, will now be extended to four other uniformed forces; Excise, Fire Force, Prisons, Forest.
The Commission has also recommended an increase in paternity leave from 10 to 15 days, on par with the Centre.
According to the latest assessment, 5,21,231 staff members are drawing their salaries from the Kerala government exchequer. This includes 3,82,000 employees of the government and 1,39,000 employees in aided educational institutions.
About 60 per cent of the personnel in government employment are in the education and health sectors.