Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

GENERAL

Q1. How can I find a job in Tonga's Public Service?
A1. Government vacancies are advertised on

  • Local Newspapers
  • Local Radion Stations (FM's & AM)
  • Internet
  • Circular Savingram to Government's ministries

Q2.       I am a foreigner, how can I apply for a job in Tonga?

A2.        You can apply for any position that you are eligible for but you must obtain a “work visa” before you can be employed.

 

 Q3.       Where is the Office of the Public Service Commission located?

A3.        The Office of the Public Service Commission is located on the corner of Taufa’ahau Rd and Salote Rd next to the Prime Minister’s Office and diagonally opposite the New Zealand High Commission. You must be formally dressed to enter the premises.

 

Q4.       How can I lodge a complaint against a public servant?

A4.        You can submit your complaint to the:

               CEO of the Ministry concerned.

               CEO of the Public Service Commission

               Commissioner for Public Relations

 

Q5.       How does government ensure employees are safe from scrutiny within the Ministry if they decide to lodge an appeal to the Tribunal?

A5.        Follow the procedures on grievances and disputes procedures on the PSC website. The document can be acquired from the office’s website

 

Q6.       I am a public servant and I have been treated unfairly in my work place and I have complained to my CEO but nothing has been done. What can I do?

A6.        You can lodge a complaint to:

1.         The Public Service Commission through the CEO of the Commission

2.         If you are not satisfied then submit your complaint to the Tribunal

3.         If you are still not satisfied then submit to the Commissioner for Public Relations (Ombudsman)

4.         If all does not work for you then you can appeal to the Supreme Court

 

Q7.       Where can I get information on the new government performance management scheme?

A7.        You can read updated articles and documents on our website or contact Ms. Charlotte M. Vuki at the Office of the Public Service Commission on Tel: 25-770 extension 220 or via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Q8.       Are there any benefits for employees who perform well but have yet to utilize their casual or sick leaves / minimal usage of casual or sick leaves?

A8.        There are no direct or financial benefits for an employee who never utilize most of his/her leave entitlements except for a good attendance records for future reference

 

Q9.       Who is RA?

A9.        RA stands for Remuneration Authority. It is a body set up by parts of the civil servants as an union-like organization to deal e with the rights of the public servants to be treated fairly.

 

Q10.     How many employees in the Tonga Public Service? 

A10.      As of 31 December 2015, there are currently 3470 employees under 19 ministries which are under the Public Service Act. The above figure does not include the following:

               Tonga Audit Office

               Parliament employees

               Statutory Boards

               Tonga Police

               Tonga Fire Services

               Tonga Prison

               His Majesty’s Armed Force

 

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Q1. Who do I contact at the PSC Office to query a status of a case or any matters relating to it?

 A1. The Human Resources Management Division at the PSC Office is responsible for processing all cases and submissions to the Commission. Each line Ministry has a designated desk officer and will provide the necessary assistance required. Should you wish to know who your desk officer is, please e-mailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 25-770 for further information.

 

Q2. How often does the Public Service Commission meet to decide on public service matters (i.e. promotion, appointment, special leave without pay .etc.)

A2. The  Commission meets every Friday at 10:00am.

Q3. How long does the PSC Office process cases submitted from line Ministries to the Commission for a decision?

A3. All cases received by 12noon on Monday are processed to the Commission meeting of that week (i.e. Friday) subject to completion of all documents and information required

 

Q4. H ow long after the Commission’s approval would the line Ministry receive a decision on their case?

A4. PSC decisions are usually distributed on the following Monday or Tuesday (at the latest) after the Commission meeting on Friday.

 

Q5. Who do I contact if I am not satisfied with the Commission’s decision regarding my case?

A5. All public servants if not satisfied with a Commission’s decision may appeal to the Public Service Tribunal.

 

Q6. How do I get in contact with the Public Service Tribunal?

A6. The Prime Minister’s Office is the secretariat to the Public Service Tribunal and they can be contacted at phone number: 24-644

 

 

TRAINING

Q1.  What types of trainings are provided by the PSC Office?

A1. The PSC Office provides two (2) types of trainings for the Public Service;

i).  Core Trainings – This consist of Induction trainings, Code of Ethics and Conduct trainings and Policy trainings which are all focused on the Public Service Act, Regulations and its policies.

 

ii). Generic Trainings – This consist of general trainings that are run across all line Ministries which covers areas like customer service, time management, project management. The generic trainings are courses to assist an employee with performing his/her duties.

 

 

Q2. How often do the trainings provide by the PSC Office run?

A2. i). Core trainings – Induction trainings are provided on a quarterly basis for all new employees in Government. Policy and Code of Ethics and Conduct training may be delivered subject to request from the line Ministry or as scheduled under the Training Calendar for the PSC Office.

ii). Generic trainings are delivered on an annual basis subject to availability of funds.

 

Q3. Who do I contact to get further information on the trainings provided by the PSC Office? 

A3. The Training and Capacity Building Division at the PSC Office is responsible for the delivery and facilitation of trainings provided. Should you wish to request further information please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 25-770 for further information.

 

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Q1. What is PMS?

A1. Performance Management System measures, monitors and records performance

It is a system that is set up to help the employee to know how he/she contributes to the achievement of the Ministry’s vision through achievement of the Ministry’s objectives. Its ultimate goal is to improve organizational, team and individual performance

 

Q2. What is the PSC Office role in the PMS process?

A2. It is the role of the Commission and the PSC Office to ensure that there is an effective performance management system in place in Government.

The PMS Division of the PSC Office are the drivers and motivator of PMS across the Public Service and ensures that the above function of the Commission is carried out

 

Q3. How is PMS related to increment?

A3. If you don’t perform you don’t get rewarded

- PMS determines your increment at the end of your appraisal period

 

Q4. Employees working in the outer islands have limited access to the internet, how can we obtain PMS information and updates?

A4. It is the responsibility of each Ministries’ HR and PMS Managers to disseminate the relevant information to their sub-branches in the outer island. However, the PSC Office also conducts outer-island visitations and consultations.

 

Q5. How do I go about requesting any training that is required by our new staff or staff who need refresher training on PMS?

A5. i) Contact PMS team via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call PSC Office at 25770

 ii) The Ministry’s HR/PMS Officer can contact us.

 iii) Induction training is provided every quarter for new appointees

 

Q6. Is the PMS form and process available in Tongan?

A6. Yes

 

Q7. How and when do I know if PMS is implemented in my Ministry?

A7. i). JD and PMS form would have been disseminated to staff for discussion and signing

 ii). The PSC Office PMS Division would have conducted a random interview process

iii). Your Ministry would have conducted a benchmark assessment

 

Q8. How is PMS different to previous form of increment?

A8. i). Previous method did not use a rating method

 ii). The general assessment method was completely carried out by the supervisor without taking into consideration subordinates comments/views

 

Q9. What other incentives can be provided for staff with fixed salaries (e.g. Deputy Secretaries)?

A9. There are no other incentives according to the current system that can provide for employees with fixed salaries as there are no other salary points in the salary scale for them to move towards (e.g. annual performance increments). However, work is underway to formulate an incentive framework which may provide other incentives for those with fixed salaries

 

Q10. How will PMS affect staff have reached their maximum points?

A10. For underperforming staff at maximum point, if they continue to underperform, it is possible to fallback one point.

 

Q11. How can my performance be measured if the staff is constantly being transferred between divisions?

A11. Have a new JD for every move across the division and to discuss with supervisor on the tasks achieved.

 

Q12. How can my performance be assessed if my supervisor is mostly travelling or is in another location?

A12. Acting Supervisor or HOD will assess your performance and advise your immediate supervisor accordingly upon their return.

Government Representative for staff in the Outer Island

 

Q13. Who is responsible for assessing my supervisor’s performance?

A13. It will be your supervisor’s direct supervisor, depending on the organizational structure (That is e.g. HOD will be assessed by CEO)

 

Q14. The PMS passing mark is 80%, what happens if I score less than the passing mark?

A14. There will be a reassessment period of three (3) months to determine whether there is an improvement in the work performance. If not, warning or disciplinary charges will be taken against the underperforming staff.

 

Q15. Is there any other reward if I exceed expectation apart from the normal increment?

A15. Possibility of a Double increment award

 

Q16. How will any issues in the joint marking between staff and supervisor be resolved?

A16. The markings for the joint section will be based on the availability of evidence to support the proposed rating. (Emphasis is provided on the evidence to support the marking)

 

Q17. How important is JD for PMS?

A17. The JD is the basis for the PMS form. (Contents of the JD will be applied to the PMS form)

PMS cannot be implemented without a JD

 

Q18. When acting in a higher position, which JD will be used to assess my performance?

A18. Your original JD will be used to assess your performance. However, your eligibility to continue acting in the higher post is dependent on how well you perform in the acting post.

 

Q19. What if I conduct any other duties apart from my JD, will that be included when the assessment process is done?

A19. Yes, this will be considered in the PMS form. However, evidence must be provided.

 

Q20. I am a daily paid staff, am I included in the PMS process?

A20. Yes, in accordance with your signed contract

 

Q21. My supervisor is bias and doesn’t like me, what can I do to make sure that I am assessed fairly?

A21. Informal: Discuss informally with supervisor and CEO to sort out any issues

Formal: If the informal discussion with the supervisor is not successful, employee can continue with the formal Grievance process to PSC office

 

Q22. What are the minimum criteria to be used as KPI (Key Performance Indicators) within the JDs?

A22. This is dependent on the Ministries’ key outputs to be achieved.

This is also dependent on the type of post (e.g. a cleaner will not have the same tasks and KPI as an Assistant Secretary Etc.)

 

Q23. Does my attitude impact my performance and if so, in what way

A23. Yes. Section 3.2 of the PMS form deals with attitude

 Code of Conduct and Ethics

Sect 3.2: core competencies including behavioral competencies linked to code of ethics and conduct

 

Q24. Can PMS be used for job applications? (e.g. application to a higher post esp. in government)?

A24. Yes. PMS can be used as an indicator of current work capacity and capability aligning with potential to perform in a higher position.

 

Q25. Can PMS allow employees to assess the performance of their supervisors?

A25. To some extent, yes, they can only comment on the assessment and work relationship with their supervisor on the PMS form.

Staff can only comment on any actions taken by their supervisor to assist the employee’s ability to perform and areas that they could have improved on.(Not in rating)

 

Q26. Was our increment on hold last year because of the PMS? (HR related)?

A26. No, it was on hold from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

There was no Public Service Commission Decision or Cabinet Decision to freeze the increment

 

Q27. How regular will performance review be done?

A27. Moving on, there will be mid-year review and the final assessment at end of the Financial Year

 

Q28. Who has the final say in outcome of performance?

A28. CEO

 

Q29. What is the difference between the scoring? Difference between 51 and 99.9% (i.e. score of 3 vs. 4)

A29. The difference between a score of 3 and 4 is that 3 indicate that there was some work done, ranging from 51 and 99.9 completion. However, the task was still not completed. The score of 4 indicates that the task was fully completed.

 

Q30. What PMS assistance can the PSC Office provide to Line Ministries?

A30. PMS Awareness Training

 - PMS Supervisor Training

 - PMS Benchmarking and Evaluation Training

 - JD Training

 - JD transition to PMS form

 - On-site assistance and meetings if requested

- PMS team responds to emails within one hour of receipt

 

POLICY

Q1. Is a daily paid labourer entitled to a study leave?

A1. No. Employees engaged as “daily paid labourers” are remunerated on a day-to-day basis and as such are not entitled to any leave benefits (2B.17).  Furthermore, a daily paid labourer will be entitled only to the wages they are paid as specified by the Chief Executive Officer; and are not entitled to overseas travel and acting appointment (2C.3);

 

Q2. How much annual leave am I entitled to if I resume duty after returning from a study leave at the later part of the year?

A2. As of 4 January 2010, an employee shall be entitled to: (a) Twenty (20) working days annual leave which is not accrued from year to year; (b) Employees appointed during the year will receive the pro rata leave entitlement from the month they assumed duty until end of December, calculated as one annual leave day for every 12 working days worked; (c) Employees who exit the service before completion of 12 months shall be deducted the pro rata leave entitlement for the months not yet worked (2B.10);

 

Q3. Can an employee resume duty whilst on a study leave with pay?

A3. Only recipients of Government Scholarships and Scholarship awards who are confirmed to be in line with the Government priority areas as determined by the Government Scholarship Committee shall receive salary as follows: (a) 1st year – 50% of salary; (b) 2nd year – 25% of salary; (c) After second year of study no salary portion of salary shall be paid; Furthermore, if the employee resumes duty on full pay whilst on study leave for a period not exceeding two months, this period shall not be considered a break in the duration of his study leave for the purposes earlier stated (2B.23.1 (1) (3));

 

Q4. When can a recently promoted employee apply again for another post or for another promotion?

A4. An employee who has been recently promoted shall be eligible for another promotion after completing one (1) year at the post to which he was last promoted (1B.2 (4)).

 

Q5. How long is the probationary period under Section 1C8 of the current policy, 6 months or 1 year?

A5. All promotions shall be on six (6) months probationary period before confirmation to the position (1B.2 (8)).  An employee on probation shall not be eligible for acting appointment or to apply for other posts until they have completed their probationary period and have been confirmed to their current post (1C.8);

 

Q6. Are they any local medical referral?

A6. Section 2B.18.7 (4) Local Medical Referral

“Subject to the approval of the Director of Health, employees posted in outer islands who are ill and could not be treated at local hospital may be referred to Tongatapu or the nearest hospital that can provide medical treatment for the employees and in such cases Government shall meet costs involved.”

 

Q7. Where can I obtain a copy of the Public Service Policy and other Legislations?

A7. From the PSC website (www.psc.gov.to/legislations)

Contact the PSC Office (Ph 25-770) or any of the staff via e-mail. (Check email addresses on the PSC website.)