The Federal Executive Council of Nigeria has approved paternity leave, virtual meetings in the revised Public Service Rules, PSR, 2021.
The approval was given at Wednesday’s meetings of the Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan stated this while briefing State House correspondents after the meeting.
Yemi-Esan explained that the new PSR 2021 has 17 chapters as against the former one that had 16 chapters.
“The chapter on APER (Annual Performance Evaluation Report) and promotions has been replaced by a new chapter on the new Performance Management System that has been introduced into the public service.
“There is also a chapter that has been reinvigorated; the chapter on training. This is an all-important chapter because of the importance training has in the public service.
“We also have a new chapter on virtual meetings. You recall that there was a policy document that was approved by the FEC.
“So, we put some of the guidelines in that policy document into the new public service rules.
“So, we have accepted virtual meetings as a tool to be used in service now and there are some guidelines there.”
The HOSF said that the approval for paternity leave was in response to the request the unions in the civil service made.
“Paternity leave is the leave that is approved for men when their spouses or wives have given birth to a new born baby, or if the husband and wife have just adopted a baby of less than four months, then the man is entitled to a paternity leave of about 14 days.
“So, that is what has been approved for men, so that the men and their babies can bond well together.
“It is important because we want the young children and the youth to bond properly with their fathers. Just as they bond well with their mothers.
“This is the time that has been approved now for men to bond, especially at the early stages of the child’s life. That is when it is important to take place.”
Explaining the difference between the new Performance Management System, which will replace the APER, Yemi-Esan said that the new system is based on agreed targets for officers.
“The new Performance Management System is based on everybody’s target. You will look at the objectives of your ministry or your parastatal and from the broad objectives of your ministry you will determine your target, which must be based on the objectives of your ministry.
“Then, you discuss it with your supervisor; there must be an agreement between the officer and the officer’s superior; that yes, these are the targets you are going to work on in the first year. And based on that there will be quarterly appraisals.
“Have you met your target? If you haven’t met your target, what is it that you need that will make you meet your target?
“Even trainings; sometimes you can recommend training that you need to make you do your work better. So, it is a completely different thing.”
She said that officers from the Office of the Head of Service have been going round to ministries to describe this process and also to teach officers on how to set their own objectives.
“They’ve been round about 12 ministries as at today. At the end of the day, everybody is expected to submit their own target so that we are sure that civil servants know what this entails.
“Right now, there is a transition period. We cannot transit everybody at the same time. We have pilot ministries that we are working on that from 2022 will not use APER anymore. Gradually we continue until APER becomes completely extinct.”
Noting that the review of the 2008 PSR was long overdue, the HOSF said that the PSR 2021 was prepared after engagements with stakeholders.
“These rules, ideally, are supposed to be revised every five years, but this has taken more than that for us to get the revised PSR 2021.
“In doing the revision, we had a lot of stakeholder engagements. There was a circular that was put out for call from different sectors and from various groups that wanted amendment to the PSR.
“We set up different committees to look at what we got and finally a technical committee that consisted of permanent secretaries, serving and retired, and directors were put together to look at the zero draft that we got.
“After they reviewed it, we took it to the National Council on Establishment. At the National Council on Establishment, the essence of the PSR was approved. However, there were some revisions that were supposed to be made before making it public.”
She said it was after these engagements that the PSR 2021 was brought to the Federal Executive Council and got approval for it.