Financial repercussion on our salary due to Covid-19: Are we ready for it? | 30 July 2020
Even if we, in Seychelles, have been spared from massive layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, another financial risk could come from a different angle: a salary cut! In one of the press conferences by the Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles, this subject as well as the possibility of workers not receiving their 13th month pay was broached. Are we ready for this eventuality?
In order to minimise the loss of jobs, President Danny Faure announced that Seychellois employees will not lose out on their salaries after June 2020, now that government has guaranteed to continue paying their salaries from July to end of December 2020.
The Financial Assistance for Job Retention (FA4JR) scheme was set up by the government to guarantee salary payments for employees and self-employed individuals, both locals and expatriates, from April to end of June 2020. But after discussion with all stakeholders, the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, announced that the government will continue the same scheme from July 1 right through to December 31, 2020. But as from July 1, the payment of salaries would be only to Seychellois workers and not expatriates.
He also noted that workers being made redundant will also be paid their salaries every month until end of December 2020.
The big question is what will happen after December 2020?
What did the employment department do?
The employment department which falls under the Ministry of Employment, Immigration and Civil Status quickly stepped in with several measures to cushion the effect of the pandemic on our workers.
After several discussions with its tripartite partners, workers and employers unions, as well as representatives from the private sector, the ministry amended the Employment Act, 1995 and introduced a temporary GOP framework to allow businesses to plan and re-adapt to the current economic situation being faced by our country and for the ministry to ensure that priority of employment remains for Seychellois.
The law and framework have been devised alongside the different employment programmes in existence and to be introduced to ensure the wellbeing of the citizens in this current economic climate.
In all situations, that is, whether the employer has been assisted or not, when it comes to lay-off and redundancy of workers, where there is a Seychellois and non-Seychellois occupying a similar post in the organisation, the employer will not be allowed to take such action against the Seychellois employee.
What our readers think about the prospect of a salary cut?
“It will not be fair as I still have the same responsibilities. I am still doing the same job. But if I know that the management is trying to lay off some staff, I will accept a salary cut in order for my other colleagues to maintain their jobs.”
“I have my tourist business where I was depositing souvenir/craft in tourist shops on Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. With no tourists my business has suffered. I am now depending on my husband’s business and it also means using my savings. I am now really cutting all unnecessary costs. I am making a shopping list instead of just going into the shop buying items at random. I do not have kids who are depending on me which makes it a bit easier. It will be very difficult for others, especially those who have children, loans etc. My advice is to get the whole family together and make a list of priorities. Get everyone on board.”
“Be your own boss to prevent anyone to decide your income. If you reduce them, it will be your own choice or according to your own analysis and when things get better you’ll be able to be more generous with yourself once again without waiting for your boss’ goodwill.”
“It will surely not help the economy to recover since to stimulate the economy towards recovery people need to spend their salaries back in the economy. If we reduce everywhere the economy will suffer and will take longer to bounce back. One can prepare by seeking for ways to get additional income to make ends meet.”
“I hope when they decide on the percentage to cut off they do it based on salary cap – high income high percentage cut and lower percentage as salary bands decrease. I am sure most of those people with huge income have businesses/private interests on the sides.”
Although nothing formal has been announced yet, if our economy does not pick up, as responsible citizens we need to see how we can support ourselves, our family and our community!