Civil servants with a minimum of two years diploma certificate, entering the civil service at the supervisory and support (S1 or S2) positions can now move up to the position level of P3 in the civil service.
To address the stagnation issue faced by diploma holders as well as retain and motivate time, this is one of the new provisions added to the Bhutan Civil Service Rules and Regulations (BCSR) 2012, which came into effect yesterday following its launch by the royal civil service commission.
“This is a big step forward and at the same time makes it clear that if you are a diploma holder, then p3 is the end of the career ladder,” commissioner Bachu Phub Dorji said. As of September this year, there are 4,28 civil servants in S1 and S2 positions.
The commission also decided to keep the number of years required for promotions at four years. With “stagnation” being an issue for civil servants at the P2 and P1 level for the next level, EX, is based on availability of vacancies, the commission felt that civil servants were “moving up too fast” and had proposed that after the first promotion, the subsequent ones be given after five years.
“During the consultation, it came in very strong not to change this to five years and we went by the majority,” the commissioner said. “For ultimately I think the important thing is we also need to motivate people to stay in the system and from that aspect we kept it at four years.”
The rules also state that the minimum duration required for executive and specialist promotion is five years.
While all contract appointments in the civil service require the commission’s approval, the BCSR, 2012 now gives constitutional offices the authority to recruit contract appointments on specialised fields against the approved strength.
However, the rules do not allow civil servants once terminated or compulsorily retired as eligible for contract appointment.
Based on feedback, another positive change in the rules according to the commission is that the BCSR 2012 allows civil servants in teaching profession to “accumulate and carry forward their unused casual leave to a maximum of 90 days and accordingly be eligible for encashment.”
Commissioner Bachu Phub Dorji said so far teachers had to exhaust their casual leave because they couldn’t take it forward or encash it like other civil servants.
“Now this rule allows teachers to bank their casual leaves up to 90 days and if they have one month’s leave to their credit, they can encash it.”
From 15 days, the BCSR 2012 now allows bereavement leave to civil servants for 21 days in the event of death of a family member, parent, spouse’s parent and sibling.
While the duration of maternity leave has been kept at three months despite feedback to raise it to four to six months, the commission has given an additional month of maternity leave to civil servants who deliver twins or more and for premature delivery. Mothers who legally adopt newborns would also be eligible for three months maternity.
The BCSR 2012 also grants paternity leave of 10 working days to fathers of twins, babies who are born prematurely and through caesarean. The rules also state that civil servants are entitled to a maximum of three years of medical leave after which they will be retried under the early retirement scheme.
An important provision added under the “administrative discipline” chapter, said commission officials is that the BCSR 2012 would hold “a supervisor liable for administrative actions, including compulsory retirement and termination, for any major corruption or grave official misconduct of his subordinates even if the supervisor concerned is not directly involved in such misdeeds.”
Commissioner Bachu Phub Dorji said this provision brings in accountability to those in managerial and supervisory positions, who were to date “safe” even if anything happens “below” them. “But now the rules say that you are accountable because you are supposed to monitor,” he said.
The highlight of the BCSR 2012 however is its definitions on the training obligations and the consequences for civil servants who fail, change, don’t complete their course and resign during the training.
If a civil servant fails the course or returns early without completing the course, he or she would be penalised with no further RGoB long term training and promotion will be delayed by double the duration of the approved study period from the due date of next promotion.
A civil servant would have to refund as per the undertaking and be terminated if the candidate’s university has taken administrative discipline against the civil servant. In case of a change in course to one that’s irrelevant to one’s current job, then the degree would not be accepted and promotion would be delayed.
“The rule are very comprehensive and it would be difficult for those who default because these rules can ruin their future,” commission official said.
According to BCSR 2012, the weightage for rural posting for promotion is changed to five percent from eight percent so that “the field is levelled” for those agencies that don’t have an opportunity for rural postings.
Merit ranking for those who appear the civil service examinations would be based on 75 percent on BCSE results and 25 percent on their post graduation course’s results instead of 50 percent each.
“University graduates selected through the BCSE shall be obliged to serve for a minimum of four years of active service or completion of training obligation, whichever is higher,” the rules state.
Commissioner Bachu Phub Dorji explained that this change was made because those who are appointed leave after a year or so, depriving the opportunity for the next candidate to serve.
The BCSR, 2012 also has two new chapters on civil service awards to recognise the service of civil servants as required by the commission’s act and on human resource auditing.
There are three types of awards – dedicated service awards for 10, 20 and 30 years of service; a lifetime service award for someone who has been with the civil service since his or her graduation until their superannuation; and the civil service award for excellent service, which is awarded by His Majesty on the national day.
BCSR 2012 now subsume all past circulars and notifications that the commission had issued in the past. Only three documents, the BCSR, 2012, the civil service act and the Constitution would now govern the management of the civil service.
RCSC’s chairperson Thinley Gymatsho after the launch said that reviewing and revising the civil service rules has been a massive task and that the launch of the BCSR 2012 completes the transformation of the civil service system under a constitutional and democratic Bhutan. “As a result of all these exercises, we have now the BCSR 2012, a document which is now fully in line with the civil service act and the Constitution,” he said. “In a way this is the end of the road when it comes to revision but another chapter opens tomorrow and I am confident that we will achieve our aspirations in reforming our civil service.”