Nick Smith flays public service bosses over extra week of leave

National MP Nick Smith is blasting the decision to give state services chief executives an extra week of paid leave.

In a heated exchange with State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes during the Governance and Administration Select Committee on Wednesday morning, Mr Smith said the policy was unfair and sets a poor example.

In August the Government said it would axe performance pay for public service CEOs. In return, they would receive an extra week's paid holiday.

But Mr Smith says these people are already earning on average half a million a year, and the amount of time given off for the boss should be no different for the workers.

"I think it sends a poor signal for the bosses of the public sector to be saying to all the other workers that they need an extra week's holiday," he told media on Wednesday.

"I do think it's a bit of a kick in the face for the hard-working coal-face public servant to be told they get one week's less leave than those that are earning the big salaries at the top."

Mr Smith blames the State Services Commission for "bizarre" changes to the policy and argues we need to take a consistent approach to the public service.

"I think it's very poor form that the leaders of the public service somehow think that they need an extra week's holiday," he says.

"In my view the taxpayer is being asked to pay more for less and giving them an extra week's holiday is a copout."

But State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says the CEOs should be "commended" for their actions in agreeing to their new contracts.

"Public service chief executives have forgone a significant amount of salary. As part of that they've gained a few days leave," he says.

"You will see public sector salaries at the top end coming back."