Thu, 04 May 2000

Govt raises teachers' allowance

JAKARTA (JP): The government on Wednesday increased the functional allowance of teachers an additional 50 percent, while slashing in half the controversial structural allowance hike for high-ranking officials.

With the new increase teachers now will receive a total allowance increase of 150 percent, with the House of Representatives already approving a 100 percent hike in March.

However, this still falls below the 300-percent functional allowance increase that teachers demanded during demonstrations last month.

"The teachers will get the additional 50 percent hike starting on June 1," Minister of Finance Bambang Sudibyo, accompanied by Cabinet Secretary Marsilam Simanjuntak, announced at a media conference following a Cabinet meeting.

Minister of National Education Yahya Muhaimin said last month the average monthly salary of teachers was approximately Rp 650,000 (US$84).

A senior official at the National Development Planning Agency recently said a 100 percent increase in teachers' allowances would place an additional Rp 1.7 trillion burden on the government.

Before the increase, the allowance for teachers ranged from Rp 45,000 to Rp 125,000 a month.

Bambang also announced on Wednesday that civil servants working as medics would get an additional 25 percent increase in their functional allowance, on top of the 100 percent already approved.

It was also announced that librarians and civil servants in the public service sector will also get an additional Rp 75,000 per month, while the lowest ranking civil servants will get an additional Rp 50,000 in allowance each month.

The government earlier instituted an across-the-board 30 percent basic salary increase for all civil servants.

Demands for increased allowances and salaries for civil servants intensified after the government voted itself a pay raise.

The President's basic salary was increased from Rp 15 million to Rp 26.7 million in April, with a gross take-home pay of about Rp 49.77 million.

The Vice President's basic salary went from Rp 10 million to Rp 22 million, with a take-home pay of about Rp 40 million.

The basic salary of Cabinet ministers shot up from Rp 2.5 million to Rp 12.6 million, while the basic salaries of legislators doubled. With various allowances, legislators can expect to net about Rp 9.7 million a month.


While the news was favorable for teachers, librarians and government medics, officials in the top echelons of government realized on Wednesday that the net income increases they received last month would be significantly slashed next payday.

Bambang said the controversial structural allowance increases for high-ranking government officials would be cut by about 50 percent, but he would not say if this had any correlation to the new allowance increases for teachers and other civil servants.

High-ranking government officials last month received structural allowance increases of between 400 percent and 2,000 percent.

"The structural allowances for first-echelon and second- echelon officials will now only be 50 percent of the previous increase," Bambang said.

"Third, fourth and fifth-echelon officials will only get 60 percent of the original scheme," he added.

Under the original plan, top-echelon officials such as director generals received a monthly allowance of between Rp 7 million and Rp 9 million, up from the Rp 400,000 to Rp 500,000 they previously received.

Second-level officials such as bureau chiefs received an allowance of between Rp 3 million and Rp 5 million, up from Rp 200,000 to Rp 250,0000.

In a related development, Minister of Health Achmad Sujudi here on Wednesday afternoon also agreed to demands from protesting doctors and dentists assigned to community health centers to raise their basic salaries by 100 percent.

These newly graduated doctors and dentists are required to serve in local community centers as non-permanent employees for three years in non-remote areas or two years in remote areas.(prb/byg)