It is the Government's civil service pay policy to offer sufficient remuneration to attract, retain and motivate staff of a suitable calibre to provide the public with an effective, efficient and high quality service. In order that civil service pay can be regarded as fair and reasonable by both the civil servants who provide the service and the public who foot the bill, we adopt the principle that the level of civil service pay should be broadly comparable with private sector pay.
Internal relativity among individual grades based on the Qualification Benchmark System is another main feature of the current system. This system involves establishing benchmark pay points for key educational qualifications that are stipulated as entry requirements for appointment to the civil service by reference to the pay for private sector jobs requiring similar qualifications. The starting pay for an entry rank is then set with reference to the relevant qualification benchmark, having regard also to other factors relating to the job nature of that particular rank. Grades with a similar qualification requirement for appointment are then broad-banded into qualification groups. Grades within the same qualification group (except qualification groups 10 and 11) share a similar pay structure. There are now 11 qualification groups in the civil service pay system.
Civil servants are remunerated on the pay scales of their respective grades and ranks. There are 11 sets of civil service pay scales. Pay scales for different ranks in a grade are expressed as a range of points on the respective pay scales. Subject to satisfactory performance, including conduct, diligence and efficiency, officers normally advance one increment a year within their respective rank scales until they reach the maximum point of the scales. Upon promotion, they will advance to the pay scale of the rank they have been promoted to. Civil service pay scales are subject to adjustments under pay adjustment exercises. Such adjustments may take the form of a pay increase, pay freeze or pay reduction.