Bonuses at Public Service, not Provided by Law
27 June, 2013
Bonuses disbursed to officials employed at Georgian public service, including the state chancellery, presidential administration, ministries, parliament and other state administration related entities do not fit into the legal framework. The bonus rates are defined at personal discretion of the heads of administrations or departments and significantly exceed the average volume of bonuses adopted in the developed world.
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) came to this conclusion after researching the bonus calculation and distribution practice at Georgian public service from
October 1, 2012 till April 1, 2013 and comparing it with the bonus systems adopted in European countries. The practice of researched countries shows that the bonus system is vital to make public service effective, combat corruption and attract skilful professionals to this sector; however, the bonus calculation and distribution methodology in each country is regulated by corresponding law, except Georgia. The benchmark and cap limits of bonuses are strictly outlined by the law; it fluctuates within 10-20% of the wages and are distributed only once a year at the end of the year, when achievements are summed up. Meantime, Georgian government set no strict limits to bonuses; it used to distribute them on monthly basis, defining the volumes at personal taste of top officials, who frequently defined their own bonuses as well. The volume of bonuses make one-third or halve of wages and sometimes exceeds the monthly wage or are distributed in the beginning of the month. And no argumentation and explanation why this or that bonus was granted, is attached to the financial papers at public service.
“First of all, the problem is that there is no strict definition of bonus in the law and there are no regulations how it should be calculated,” Kakha Kozhoridze, head of GYLA, said in the interview to Georgian Journal. “While the international standards show that each reward should be augmented and put within the regulation, there is no order or decree of the President or Prime Minister, defining how rewards should be disbursed at public service and heads of each departments were outlining bonuses at their own discretion despite the General Administrative Code of Georgia that requires arguments to be provided before enacting any act of legal administration. As to the bonus rates, they completely contradict any law.”
As a matter of fact, after power shift on October of 1, 2012, new Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, revoked bonus distribution by the ministers and heads of the state chancellery and prescribed monthly add-ons of GEL 4 335; bonuses will be allocated only by the end of the year if governmental members fulfill some special service. Nevertheless, as a non-governmental watchdog Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) researched recently, MPs of the new parliament have already received bonuses in the volume of GEL 956 389 in January-April of 2013 and add-ons of GEL 1 523 276 for the rates of add-ons increased. According to Nino Sukhishvili, an experts with IDFI, incomes of MPs were supposed to drop by 30% as a result of revoking monthly bonuses; however, it decreased just by 5% thanks to the increased add-ons.
Non-governmental watchdogs appeal to Georgian government to streamline legislative gaps in the bonus system in compliance with the developed world standards and also recommend increasing wages to public servants rather than introducing add-ons that should be outlined each year all over again.