Methods Used by Certain Foreign Governments To Set and Adjust Compensation Levels for Their Civil Servants

FPCD-82-40: Published: Apr 28, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO obtained information on how foreign governments set and adjust civil servant pay and benefits. Specifically, GAO obtained information on the compensation systems of Australia, Canada, England, and Japan.

Australia sets pay for virtually all of its 154,000 civil servants by collective bargaining. The only exceptions are for 30 top-level officials whose pay is fixed administratively. Benefits, including pensions and leave, are set legislatively by the Parliament which periodically adjusts pension annuities according to changes in the Australian consumer price index. Canada sets pay for its civil servants, except executive-level employees, through collective bargaining. The Prime Minister administratively sets executive pay based on a comparability survey of top-level, private sector employees and recommendations of an advisory group. England sets civil servant pay for about 560,000 white-collar and about 170,00 blue-collar employees through collective bargaining. Benefits are also set through collective bargaining. Pay for about 1,000 executive level employees is administratively reviewed every 2 years based on a Government survey of top-level employees in the private sector. An independent government organization studies and recommends pay and allowance for Japan's civil servants. Each year the organization reports on the adequacy of civil servant compensation. Japan's civil servants are not permitted to bargain collectively or to strike over compensation. However, they may organize to negotiate conditions of work.

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