Parliament approves controversial civil service law
Courtesy: بسمة فتحي
 

Egypt’s parliament approved the long-disputed civil service law on Monday and referred it to the state council, tasked with assessing its constitutionality.

The draft law has gone through several cycles of revision and was the only presidential decree to be rejected by parliament in its bulk review of the decrees issued by interim President Adly Mansour and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the absence of a legislative body.

It was initially feared the law would grant sweeping powers to state-appointed company administrators, and civil servants raised concerns that it imposed caps on wages that would not take inflation into account.

The articles most disputed by members of parliament included: Article 37, concerning periodic raises, Article 38 on incentive-based bonuses, Article 16 on contracts with experts and advisors and Article 72 on seasonal and temporary appointments.

Parliament agreed salaries would be increased by seven percent, a two percent increase on the previous five percent annual raise. The government refuted the 10 percent raise requested, warning this would increase the deficit and destroy the economy.

It was agreed that incentive-based bonuses would see an increase of five percent rather than the two percent previously offered. Article 38 stipulates that employees who receive incentives must have been named as highly efficient employees for over two years and cannot receive such incentives more than once in any three-year period.

Article 72 was the last to be settled by parliament, which agreed that temporary and seasonal appointments should last at least three years.

Article 16, concerning the hiring of external consultants now includes a stipulation that such personnel should only be hired if there is no one with the equivalent experience currently within the civil service, and that consultants have at least 10 years experience and are under 60 years old.

There were several protests against the civil service law in 2015, with civil servants accusing the government of not engaging in any discussions with them or their unions before proposing the bill.

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