Government reverses decision to restrict overtime pay

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer at a National Emergency Operation Center press briefing. (Photo/NEOC)

The Finance Ministry, on Thursday, rescinded its earlier circular to change the policy on overtime pay for civil servants

The Finance Ministry, on Thursday, cancelled its earlier circular to limit the disbursement of overtime pay for civil servants, and announced that civil servants will continue to be remunerated for overtime work.

A new circular signed by Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer was released by the Finance Ministry this Thursday morning.

It states that the different overtime pay policies employed by different State offices was resulting in annual increases in spending on overtime pay, and that the Finance Ministry, along with other relevant State authorities, were working on deciding on a fair and uniform policy on overtime pay, in face of the unprecedented blow to the State’s finances due to the coronavirus pandemic, which compelled the State of cut down its expenses.

The Finance Ministry released a circular announcing cost cutting measures in face of the coronavirus pandemic on May 16, which declared that civil servants were to be issued overtime pay under the Employment Act only if their work exceeded 48 hours per week.

The Finance Ministry, in its new circular this Thursday, said that the policy regarding overtime pay of civil servants declared on Article 6 of the circular released on May 16 had been revoked, and that  with that change, the circular released on May 20 was also null and void.

An official from Finance Ministry told Sun that the decision means civil servants will once again continue to receive overtime pay for work conducted outside of official work hours.

“This does not, in any way, mean OT has been cancelled,” said the official.

The decision to limit overtime pay had sparked concern from civil servants, and led to petitions being lodged with both the Employment Tribunal and the Parliament contesting the legality of the move.