New pension scheme cause for worry among teachers

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It won’t be business as usual should a new pension scheme for Public Service workers be introduced starting this month, as planned.

Under the plan, 7.5 per cent of teachers’ basic salaries will be deducted.

All along, the workers have been enjoying a defined benefit scheme, thanks to taxpayers.

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki said the implementation of the scheme for all the 600,000 civil servants should start as soon as possible.

The plan has generated heated debate among key players, with some being supportive of the idea but saying a clear mechanism has not been put in place to secure the money.

Union of Kenya Civil Servants secretary-general Tom Odege said the scheme was long overdue, adding that teachers and civil servants were to contribute two per cent of their monthly pay towards the scheme in the first year, five per cent in the second year and 7.5 per cent from the third year.

He added that the government would also take out and maintain a life insurance policy valued at five times the member’s annual pensionable emoluments.

At the same time, Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary-general Wilson Sossion said teachers agree that the Pension Act has been in place since 2012 but are not aware of its benefits.

He demanded teachers’ involvement in the implementation modalities and date for the new scheme.

Many teachers have, however, argued that if implemented, the scheme is likely to overburden them financially considering that they already make other contributions.

Teachers’ unions have in the recent past criticised the current disparity between their members’ salaries and those of other civil servants.

They said the disparity is too wide, raising questions over statements that salaries have been harmonised.

The unions said thousands of teachers get broke barely a week after receiving their salaries, making them borrow from neighbours.

Teaching used to be a great profession, when university lecturers earned more than individuals in the political class.

This comes as 52,000 retired teachers cry foul over delayed payment of their pension dues.

They have for long been seeking an amicable solution to the issue.

The group’s secretary Gidraff Kimata, chairman Joseph Mwenja  and vice-chairman David Kamau have repeatedly called on the parties—the TSC, the retirees, the Attorney-General and the Director of Pensions— to resolve the matter amicably.

The calls have been made amid claims by the office of the Director of Pensions that the retirees had been paid their dues.

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