Further reading: Salary, an introduction

Salary is the most important incentive for people to work. As is the case for most occupations, salaries for teachers and school leaders, are paid monthly by the employer to the employee through the employee’s bank account. In some professions, salary is based on hours or days worked or on performance or output.

Salary rates are usually determined by an evaluation of the job (Job Evaluation) using criteria such as:

  • Comparison with other similar jobs in the job market
  • Comparison with jobs within the sector or organisation
  • General pay level and rates within the profession or occupation
  • Qualifications needed for the job
  • Complexity of the job
  • Physical demands of the job
  • Intellectual demands of the job
  • Responsibilities assumed by the job holder
  • Managerial responsibilities
  • Difficulties, risks, hazards, etc.

For instance, a school leader has challenging managerial responsibilities; one teacher may hold a bachelor degree with a diploma in education while another may only have a TC; a senior teacher will be expected to work independently, interact with the community and supervise other teachers while a junior teacher will mainly teach. All this counts in the evaluation of the job.

In the wider scale of the labour market, jobs are usually clustered into occupational categories where teachers would constitute one separate occupational category.

Following a job evaluation, a job is classified into positions within the context of the profession, for instance junior teacher, teacher, senior teacher, head teacher. Positions may be compared to other professions or occupations before being graded for salary. The higher the grade the higher the salary. In the civil service, classification of professionals typically comprises:

  • Chief Officer
  • Senior Officer
  • Officer
  • Junior Officer

Each classification has a small range of grades attached, in Sierra Leone this is typically between 6 and 12 per classification. Movement up the subgrades may depend on years of service, academic qualifications and title of the position.

Current job classifications within the teaching service are:

  • Principal (secondary schools)
  • Head teacher
  • Head of Department
  • Vice Principal (primary schools)
  • Deputy Head Teacher
  • Senior teacher
  • Junior teacher

The TSC is currently reviewing the classification and grading of teacher jobs. New classifications will be linked to the Professional Standards for Teachers and School Leaders. The new classifications will be: New Teacher, Proficient Teacher, Highly Accomplished Teacher, and Distinguished Teacher.

In Sierra Leone, the salary associated with particular grades differ from one service to another. For example, grade 10 in the teaching service is associated with a different salary than grade 10 in the mainstream civil service or the Military.

Salary is often negotiated between representatives of employers and employees. In Sierra Leone the main representative of teachers is the Sierra Leone Teachers’ Union. Important for negotiations on salary for teachers is the Trade Group Negotiation Council. For school leaders there is the National Council of Head Teachers and the Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools.

There may be additional financial incentives such as overtime pay, bonusses and occupational benefits, including salary during holidays and leave, pension, housing, etc. Allowances should cover expenditures incurred by the employee or teacher in connection with work and should not be viewed as an incentive.

It is important to note allowances should cover expenditures incurred by the employee or teacher in connection with their work and should not be viewed as an incentive.

There are important principles to be upheld for remuneration, such as:

  • classification of positions based on international standards
  • clear and objective criteria for salary grading
  • equal opportunities
  • equal pay for equal work
  • a living wage
  • timely and accurate payment.
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