Thukten Zangpo

The National Council (NC) adopted the Pay Revision Bill 2023 yesterday, accepting most of the amendments proposed by the National Assembly. 

However, the House rejected the provision for 21 days of annual leave for public servants.

Of the 23 members present, 20 voted ‘yes’, 2 abstained, and 1 voted ‘no’, leading to the adoption of the Bill. 

The NC’s Good Governance Committee presented the Bill for adoption, and it will now be deliberated again in the National Assembly today.

With both houses of Parliament supporting the Bill, public servants can expect a significant salary hike ranging from 55 to 74 percent starting this month.

The Committee made amendments to two sections and introduced a new section. The Bill comprises a total of 50 sections.

The NC members agreed with the National Assembly’s amendment on the new section after Section 47, which stipulates that leave encashment will be paid at one month’s minimum pay scale for the financial year 2022-23. They also accepted the provision that the earned leave balance accrued until June 30 of this year should be paid within five years from the enactment of the Act.

However, the members rejected the National Assembly’s amendment regarding civil servants’ entitlement to annual leave of 21 working days per year, excluding civil servants who already receive annual vacations.

The rejected provision did not include the option to carry forward any unused days to subsequent years.

During recent deliberations on the Bill, the National Assembly increased annual leave from 12 days to 21 days in response to civil servants’ expressed need for longer periods of leave.

The House introduced a new section after Section 47, which grants Members of Parliament duty-free membership to designated duty-free shops as determined by the Ministry of Finance.

The NC members also accepted the National Assembly’s amendment that the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the dzongkhag tshogdu, elected from among its members, will receive a salary pegged to their primary responsibility and an additional responsibility allowance of Nu 6,000 and Nu 3,000 per month, respectively.

Additionally, the NC amended Section 45 to state that utility expenses for the head of a mission or embassy or consulate general will be based on actual figures.

In agreement with the National Assembly’s amendment, the House adopted the provision that a foreign service member transferred from headquarters to a mission or embassy or consulate general on or before June 30, 2023, will be eligible for the carriage of personal effects when transferred back to headquarters from the mission or embassy or consulate general.

The House also accepted the National Assembly’s amendment regarding the annual financial implication of pay revision, allowances, and benefits, which amounts to Nu 6.05 billion and will be drawn from the consolidated fund.