General Questions

Questions & Answers
1. 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
2. I am a foreigner, how can I apply for a job in Tonga?

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

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

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.

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

You can submit your complaint to the:

  • CEO of the Ministry concerned.
  • CEO of the Public Service Commission
  • Commissioner for Public Relations
5. How does government ensure employees are safe from scrutiny within the Ministry if they decide to lodge an appeal to the Tribunal?

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

Questions & Answers
6. 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?

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

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

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

8. 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?

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.

10. How many employees in the Tonga Public Service?

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 Resources

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

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 or call 25-770 for further information.

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

The  Commission meets every Friday at 10:00am.

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

 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.

Questions & Answers
4. How long after the Commission’s approval would the line Ministry receive a decision on their case?

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

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

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

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

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

Performance Management System

Questions & Answers
1. What is PMS?

 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

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

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

3. How is PMS related to increment?

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

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

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

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.

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

i) Contact PMS team via email on 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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Possibility of a Double increment award

Questions & Answers
16. How will any issues in the joint marking between staff and supervisor be resolved?

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)

17. How important is JD for PMS?

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Yes, in accordance with your signed contract

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

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.

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

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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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

 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

27. How regular will performance review be done?

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

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


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

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.

30. 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


Remuneration Issues

Questions & Answers
1. What is job evaluation?

It is a systematic way of determining the value/worth of a job in relation to other jobs in an organisation. It tries to make a systematic comparison between jobs to assess their relative worth for the purpose of establishing a rational pay structure.

2. What is job evaluation commonly used for?

The job evaluation is commonly used for evaluating new vacant positions and may some time apply to promotion, if a Ministry is considering a staff to be promoted, this could be used for that promotion purpose.

3. What is a job evaluation checklist?

The checklist authenticates all the items that are needed for a job evaluation submission. a. There must be a Job Description (JD) for a new/vacant position. The JD is complete when it is endorsed/signed by the CEO of the Ministry. b. There must be an organisational structure together with the submission and this organisational structure must clearly identifies the position that is required to be evaluated. The organisational structure must also show all the positions that are within the unit and divisional structure surrounding the proposed role/position that is required to be evaluated. The position must also be clearly and correctly labelled.

Questions & Answers
4. What happen when your submission is incomplete and does not meet the checklist requirement?

The submission will be returned to you and your Ministry for completion.

5. Are professional contracts job evaluated?

Professional contracts follow the same checklist as the “job evaluation” process and must be endorsed by the CEO. If the CEO is away, the Minister must endorsed the professional contract and not the Acting CEO.

6. What is job re-evaluation?

The job re-evaluation is a process that considers appeal & concern from line Ministries of their existing staff. The existing staff appeal is concern about the previous of his/her JD and want to know whether they can be re-issued with a different band size.

7. When is the re-evaluation process takes place?

All re-evaluation from line Ministries must be submitted to the Office of the Public Service Commission on the 30 of November every year.


Questions & Answers
1. Is a daily paid labourer entitled to a study leave?

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);

2. 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?

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);

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

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));

Questions & Answers
4. When can a recently promoted employee apply again for another post or for another promotion?

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)).

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

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);

6. Are they any local medical referral?

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.”

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

From the PSC website (

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

Training Faq

Questions & Answers
1. What types of trainings are provided by the PSC Office?

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.

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

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.

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

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 or call 25-770 for further information.

Social Media Guideline

Questions & Answers
1. If I am posting in a private capacity, can I post anything I want to?

It is advisable that your social media account includes a statement to the effect that your views do not repersent that of  your employer. However, this will not always protect you from possibly breaching the Social Media Guidelines.

For example, if you choose to post up content that express your anti-government views, a disclaimer on your personal account will not save you from possible breach of the guidelines. A member of the public can rightly question your impartiality and professionalism as a public servant.

2. Can I post after working hours?

Your duty and obligation as a public servant of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga does not end when your leave your place of work. The comments you make after hours can make people question your ability to impartial, respectful and professional when you are at work. As a member of the public services, we are required by law to uphold the values and principles of the Public Service at all times.

3. Can I make a post anonymously?

You may not be expressly identified as a public servant but we almost all have a digital footprint that makes it easier to find out who you are and where you work. It is common sense to assume that anything you write or post can be linked to you and your place of work, whether you intend it or not.

4. What if I post content from my private device?

In the same way that posting content after hours will not always protect you, neither will using your own private device. Using your own device to post content does not change the fact whether what you post is alright or not. The main issue is that you should not be accessing your social media (see exceptions above) during working hours. You are not paid by the taxpayer to access social media during working hours, so for that time you are on social media at work, you are stealing from tax payer’s.

5. What about my right to freedom of speech?

As stated in Clause 7(1) of the Constitution of Tonga, it is lawful for us to speak, write or print our opinions however this is limited to not breach the law of the Kingdom of Tonga.

6. What if I 'Like', share or repost the post of someone else?

When you ‘Like’, share or repost the post of someone else, this will be generally taken to be an endorsement of that content as though you had made the post yourself.

However if your share a post because you disagree with its content and wish to bring it to soneone’s attention, it must be made clear at the time in a way that does not breach the guidelines. It may not be enough to select the ‘angry face’ icon, especially if you are one out of many people who have done so.

7. If my private social media page has limited access to my friends only and one of my friends reposts one of my posts, could this be a breach?

Yes, you breached the guideline at the time you made the post. If your friend is also a public servant, he or she could be held in breach of the guidelines as well for sharing the post on his or her social media page. 

In the context of these guidelines, a “public comment” will be taken to mean anything that is said in public or which ends up in public. This can include said or written to one person. If the comment has an audience, or a recipient, it’s a public comment.

8. Can I breach the guideline if content in breach of the guidelines is sent in a private email to a friend?

Yes, your friend can take a screenshot of that email that have it circulated on social media. The breach here will not be in circulation of your content but the fact that you emailed the content in the first place.

If your friend circulating the email is a pulic servant, he or she will be in breach of the guidelines as well.

9. Will I be responsible for objectionable comments made by someone else on my private social page?

Leaving the objectionable comments on your page can be seen in some circumstances as endorsement of that material.

It would be common sense to delete or expressly state that you do not agree or support it.

The breach of the guidelines would come if and how you react to the objectionable post made by someone else.

10. Can I join facebook group (or similar)?

The online communities you join can allow the public to question your ability to work impartially.

For example, if you are a member of a Facebook group that criticizes the policies of a different country and yet you are employed under a project that that country funds. It might raise concern as to whether you are carrying out yout duties fairly, professionally and without bias in your role.

11. Can I comment on politics, issues or events in other countries?

Usually yes, but the same concern apply. For example, some public servants work in roles that involve day-to-day relations between Tonga and other countries. Therefore you must think whether your comments on international affairs are appropriate to communicate. This is because, you may be seen to be commenting on behalf of the Government and so sensible care needs to be exercised.

If you are based abroad, you are required at all times to behave in a way that upholds the good reputation of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. Making comments about politics, issues and events in other countries must be made with care so as to not lead others to think less of the Kingdom of Tonga and its Government.

12. Is my work email or work groups considered 'social media'?

Yes, as dissemination and exchange of electronic  communication is also done through work emails or work chat groups, these instructions do cover them as well only if they breach the principles and guidance in this guideline.

Tonga Strategic Development Framework

Office of the Public Service Commission's Corporate Plans

Tonga Classification of Positions & Competency Framework (JD Development)