The Free Egyptians Party, which has a 65% majority of seats in the parliament, called for a major conference to discuss the terms of the Civil Service Law with workers syndicates, parties, trade unions, and the government.
“If the law is proven to be ineffective, we will be the first party to request amendment of the Civil Service Law,” party head Essam Khalil said during a Monday press conference.
The Civil Service Law is currently being reviewed by the parliament, since it was issued during the absence of one. The parliament has the right to either fully approve or reject laws issued since January 2014, after the ratification of the New Constitution.
If the Civil Service Law is rejected by the parliament, Egypt might lose approved loans by the World Bank, Minister of Planning Ashraf El-Araby said on Saturday.
When asked about the effect of the law after six months of its applications, deputy chairman of the party’s economic committee Mohamed Farid told Daily News Egypt that “it is hard to measure the effectiveness of the law after six or seven months”.
During the press conference, Khalil said the Civil Service Law has “some disadvantages but it can’t be fully rejected. If the parliament disapproved the law, what would be the guarantee to reform the public sector”.
The party said approving the law will help attract investments and improve Egypt’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, in which it ranks 131 out of 189 countries.
The Civil Service Law, which was issued in March shortly before the Economic Summit that was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, aimed to “reform” the public sector. Public sector employees have repeatedly protested the application of the newly-implemented Civil Service Law.
The new law presents a new system for salaries and stipulates that incentives should be approved by the Prime Minister as a fixed percentage of the total salary every year, according to the different positions.
The law also stipulates that fixed salaries contribute 80% of the employee’s income, while bonuses are awarded according to the employee’s performance, rather than seniority.
Annual bonuses were also cut from 10% to 5%. State-owned companies and economic entities are not subject to the law.
After implementing the law, some public sector employees discovered a decrease in their salaries, which prompted them to launch mass protests. However, the Minister of Planning responded that “these mistakes occurred due to the sudden change in the system after 37 years of stability”.
Government expenditures on incentives and wages increased from EGP 83bn per year during the fiscal year (FY) 2009/2010 to EGP 218bn in the new FY 2015/2016 budget, according to the Ministry of Finance.
Prominent labour rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali previously stated that the new law aimed to reduce the employees of the public sector to 3.5 million employees, from seven million.