Older civil servants facing pay cut

Kyodo News

The National Personnel Authority on Tuesday proposed cutting the salaries and annual bonuses of national civil servants for the second year in a row.

The personnel board proposed that the reductions focus on workers in their late 50s while keeping intact wages of young employees to forestall declines in their morale and in interest in public-sector jobs among new recruits.

In its recommendation to the Cabinet and the Diet, the board proposed an average cut of 1.5 percent, or ¥94,000, in the annual salaries of public servants for the year to next March 31, bringing them in line with the private sector.

The authority recommended that annual bonuses be cut to 3.95 months worth of salary from 4.15 months, the first time in 47 years that the amount would fall below the four-month level, as the private sector reduced bonuses last winter amid the economic slump.

If the proposals are adopted, the annual income of a 40-year-old section chief who is married with two children would come to ¥5.13 million and that of a vice minister, the top bureaucrat in a ministry, to ¥22.77 million.

The government will decide on the recommendations at a meeting of related Cabinet members and seek a legal revision during this autumn’s extraordinary Diet session to put the approved proposals into practice.

But the Democratic Party of Japan may call for larger pay cuts than recommended. It has pledged to reduce central government personnel expenditures by 20 percent.

According to the authority, the monthly salaries of public servants are ¥757, or 0.19 percent, higher on average than those in the private sector because of an increase in older, highly paid bureaucrats. Many of them have stayed in the government sector longer as a result of efforts to curb arranging postretirement positions for them in the private sector.

The authority proposed maintaining the salaries of public servants in their 30s and younger because they are lower than those of their private-sector counterparts.

In contrast, it proposed cutting the salaries of officials aged 40 and older by an average of 0.1 percent and imposing an additional cut of 1.5 percent in principle on the salaries of those who will be 56 or older in fiscal 2010.

The personnel authority makes recommendations on salary and bonuses for government-sector workers to bring them in line with those offered in the private sector. Such recommendations are made because government workers are denied the right to strike and have limited basic labor rights.