Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) chairman Ingrid Melville says a determination on the long-standing issue of contract employment should be made within the next fiscal year.
She made the statement on Tuesday during the TRHA’s virtual public accountability meeting, which reviewed the performance of the board over the past two years.
Melville was responding to a question about contract employment at the authority during the open forum. She assured, the issue will be carefully looked at.
“Regarding the issue of contract versus permanent workers, this is an issue which is being researched with a view to bringing the most satisfactory situation,” she said.
Melville said a draft document was prepared and circulated among the board in May.
“However, we are trying to ensure that all of the financial implications are taken into consideration.”
At present, she said the RHA’s contribute 25 per cent of the salaries of its permanent, monthly employees to pension plan while 20 per cent is contributed to gratuities.
“If we are to move towards greater permanence, then that pension contribution is an immediate payment, so we have to ensure that a proper concept document is prepared, looking at the pros and cons of both situations, and hopefully in the next fiscal period some resolution of the issue would be arrived.”
Melville said contract employment continues to be a contentious issue for workers who have been employed on contract for a number of years.
“I am hopeful that in the near future this issue can be resolved.”
Melville also responded to a question about the TRHA’s decision to host its public accountability meeting biennially instead of annually as is stipulated under the RHA Act.
She said the TRHA “straddled” many issues over the past two years, most notably the breakdown in equipment at Scarborough General Hospital and other health facilities.
“The breakdown of equipment was a very contentious issue which engaged the attention of aspects of the TRHA.
“I apologise to the public that we would be reporting after two years rather than annually, as is due by the legislation.”