The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has released a circular guiding government departments on the implementation of the newly amended Regulation 57 of the Public Service Regulations (PSR).
The circular, effective from November 1, 2023, aims to assist departments in understanding and applying Regulation 57(2) of the PSR.
According to the amended Regulation 57(2), subject to budgetary constraints, a Minister can appoint additional personnel to the established workforce based on a salary level linked to a grade determined through job evaluation or an occupational-specific dispensation (OSD). However, this appointment can only be made under specific circumstances outlined in the circular.
The circumstances under which additional personnel can be appointed include:
- When the incumbent of a post is expected to be absent for a duration that prevents other employees from performing their duties.
- Temporary increases in workload for a period not exceeding 12 calendar months.
- When an employee’s post has been abolished and they cannot be transferred to another post.
- When an employee is part of a development program as stipulated in Regulation 58.
- When the nature of the work for which the employee is employed is of limited or definite duration.
- When there is a justifiable reason to temporarily increase department staff for a period not exceeding 12 calendar months.
Ms. Yoliswa Makhasi, Director-General of the DPSA, emphasized the importance of adhering to the specifics of Regulation 57(2)(e).
Departments are required to prepare and maintain precise project plans that reflect the temporary nature of these appointments, ensuring that the duration aligns strictly with the established timeframes. Projects should not result in duplicated functions within the department’s structure.
The amended Regulation 57(2) exempts Executive Authorities from obtaining a determination from the Minister for the Public Service and Administration (MPSA) for employment periods extending beyond twelve consecutive calendar months.
The circular also rescinds the previous requirement for departments to submit deviation requests from Regulation 57(2) as mandated by circulars 14 of 2019 and 18 of 2021. This eliminates the need for communication with the DPSA three months before the expiration of the established term.
Departments are advised to manage perpetual contract renewals and consider the potential risk of creating legitimate expectations for continued employment under section 186(1)(b) of the Labour Relations Act. It is crucial to maintain records documenting the justifications for employment and contract extensions.