A voluntary retirement scheme to cut the size of the civil service will cover around 100,000 employees in 229 occupations, the government said yesterday. Housing officials of directorate grade, who are paid $134,300 a month, are the highest ranking officers who can join. Other jobs, listed in a submission to legislators, include architects, information officers, executive officers and programme officers. But some senior civil servants, known as administrative officers, who reportedly have asked to be included, are not on the list. Cutting the size of the civil service is an important part of the government's plan to reduce the budget deficit, which reached $77.3 billion in December. The retirement scheme, costing $2.1 billion, will be discussed on Friday by the Legco Finance Committee. It is estimated that 7 per cent of eligible employees, or 7,000 civil servants, will volunteer. A spokesman for the Civil Service Bureau said that if the Legislative Council approved the funding, it would begin inviting civil servants to join. The first batch could leave in August. Positions left vacant by retiring officers will be scrapped. Under a retirement scheme launched in 2000, officers received a month's salary for every two years' service, plus nine months' salary, up to a maximum of the equivalent of 20 months' pay. The compensation package for this second stage has been dubbed 'pigeon meal' in contrast to the earlier 'fat chicken meal'. Officers will get compensation in addition to the pension to which they are already entitled. An extra one month's salary will be given for every two years of service. It will be capped at 14 months' pay. In his policy address last month, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said the size of the civil service would be cut by 10 per cent to around 160,000 by 2006-07.