8% pay raise possible for civil servants

The Finance Ministry has come up with options of raising state official salaries as instructed by National Council for Peace and Order chief Prayuth Chan-ocha last week.

First, the overall salary base will be increased by 8%, Matichon Online quoted a source at the ministry.

Second, the cost of living allowance for low-ranking officials will be raised.

Currently, the standard allowance for them is 1,500 baht but when the salary is included, the total must be at least 9,000 but not more than 12,285 baht a month.

The new proposal aims to raise the standard allowance to 2,000 baht for total pay in a range of 10,000 and 13,285 baht a month.

Third, the salary base will be raised and monthly salary rates increased appropriately.

For overtime pay and other forms of compensation, each agency should negotiate with the Comptroller General's Department on a case-by-case basis.

Each option calls for a different budget.

As a rule, the Budget Bureau raises government official salary by 6% a year. Under the fiscal 2014 budget, the salary of almost 2 million officials stood at 599 billion baht.

The figure for fiscal 2015 starting October this year is 630 billion baht.

Since each percentage-point increase requires 6 billion baht, a 8% pay raise will require an additional 12 billion baht.

The cost of living allowance, however, is not included in the salary budget.

Earlier, NCPO secretary general Gen Udomdej Sitabutr hinted at raises across the board — from salary bases and cost of living allowances to OT pay.

Personnel makes up 24% of Thailand's total expenditure budget of 2.4 trillion and 2.52 trillion baht in fiscal 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Benjarong Suwankiri, head of TMB Bank's research arm TMB Analytics, said the pay raise for civil servants might not be as easy as it sounds.

The fiscal position is quite tight at the moment, he said pointing to revenue collection which had failed to meet the target.

He also dismissed the concern the news would prompt manufacturer to raise prices, saying domestic consumption had yet to recover fully and competition remains intense among manufacturers.

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