The Public Service Commission issued a Circular Memorandum 2019/2020-22 on the 23rd March 2020 informing all public servants of special working conditions in conjunction with the FK (20) Faapitoa 7 that was issued on Friday 20th March, 2020 declaring a State of Emergency (SOE) in response to the COVID19 global crisis.
The CM highlights the following:
- partial shut-down of non-essential services with the exception of essential services which are expected to remain open;
- new working hours for the whole public service (9am – 3pm);
- encouraging heads of all government agencies to consider roster arrangements or flexible working hours for employees; and
- making appropriate transportation arrangements for those affected with the partial shutdown, particularly employees who rely on public transportation.
Noting that the SOE period has now been extended, the PSC issued a revised Circular Memorandum 2019/2020-23 on the 5th of April and highlighted a few amendments as follows:
- Extended period for Tier 1 (CEO & DCEO) and Tier 2 (ACEO, Principal Officers employees to continue working from Home: in special circumstances, the CEO may grant to any employee upon request the opportunity to work from home for such reasons as the CEO sees fit.
- Extended period of Special Leave with Pay for ALL Employees: An employee who is unable to travel back to Samoa due to border shut down or a s a result of travel restrictions put in place as a result of the State of Emergency Order.
All working conditions specified in the previous PSC CM 2019/2020-22 continues to be in force.
In addition to the FK and the CMs, the “Public Administration Sector COVID-19 Planning Guidelines” was also issued. It was expected that these would provide guidance for all agencies within the Public Administration Sector to ensure business continuity before, during and after the pandemic. They are meant to support key primary healthcare and pandemic management information issued by the Ministry of Health and the Disaster Advisory Committee. The Guideline can be found or downloaded from the following link: https://www.psc.gov.ws/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/PAS-COVID19-Planning-Guidelines.pdf
A copy of the “High Risk Self-Assessment Questionnaire” in the above-mentioned Guideline is on page 10 for anyone who wants to assess their risk level.