Cyprus Mail

Comparing the Cypriot and Canadian civil service

To supplement Dr. Theodore Panayiotou’s excellent article on civil service reform, “Doing more with less” (Sunday Mail 26 May), readers may be interested to compare the absurdly over-privileged Cypriot civil servant to his/her Canadian equivalent.

In 1977, I retired from the Canadian Public Service after completing 35 years. My pension was 2.0 per cent per year for each year to a maximum of 35 years, or 70 per cent of the average salary of the best six continuous years of service, to which I had contributed 4.0 per cent of my pay annually while so employed.  Thus my final pension was “averaged down” by a substantial amount (in my case about 22 per cent) below what I would have received had my pension been based on my final salary alone. Fortunately, the pension was indexed to keep pace with the cost of living (in Canada) so that today, 36 years later, at age 90, I still receive a decent, but not impressive monthly payment.

Please note the differences from the Cypriot system:  a contributory pension; not based on last salary alone but “averaged down”; no “golden handshake” of a year’s (until recently tax-free) salary; no re-employment in the public service without suspension of an existing pension while so employed.  Moreover, I never heard of a 13th or 14th salary until I moved to Cyprus 25 years ago.

No one has ever claimed that the Canadian public servant is treated unfairly except to complain that he/she is still better off than the normal private sector pensioner (you should hear my son on this subject!).

I can only suggest, nay urge, that the Cypriot public service be completely re-structured along similar lines to the Canadian model, that also has the virtue of being managed by an absolutely clean and non-political Civil Service Commission that controls virtually all appointments and promotions. Rusfeti of any kind is all but impossible.  Like the British system, on which it is based, the Canadian system is universally regarded as both just and fair.


John Knowles, Peyia

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