Nssa mulls domestic workers pension

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HARARE – The National Social Security Authority (Nssa) is mulling a pension cover scheme for domestic workers this year, an official with the organisation said.


Nssa general manager Elizabeth Chitiga last week said the scheme, the first such package targeted at this often exploited and neglected group of workers, was aimed at improving the financial circumstances of domestic workers, mostly women, who were previously excluded from joining statutory retirement plans.


“We are also working on a voluntary pension cover for the informal sector, with specific emphasis on domestic workers.


“You will realise that there are people who have been long-serving in this line of work but never reap anything from it when they come of age because the facility is not available,” she said.


The package, a voluntary initiative for the informal sector, is anticipated to receive a huge response from employers of domestic workers, who previously could not access such services.


Joining other regional countries like South Africa and the United Kingdom, Chitiga said Nssa was looking at rolling out the scheme’s pilot before year-end.


“We will have a pilot up and running by year end. Given the number in the country’s informal sector, we expect the programme to be a success,” the Nssa boss said.


The scheme will provide universal social security cover, with people who are not formally employed making voluntary contributions to Nssa so as to get benefits upon reaching the public sector retirement age of 60.


Official data indicates that about 94,5 percent of all Zimbabwean workers are in the informal sector.


“Another option is also for employers to take out the scheme for their employees, of course this entirely depends on the two parties involved,” she added.


In the case of death, surviving spouses and close relatives could also benefit.


According to Nssa chairperson, Robin Vela, the scheme would be structured on findings of a recent survey on priority social security needs of informal workers.


“We will shortly be contracting our actuaries to model the scheme, which will include benefits design. However, we envisage that it will include retirement and survivor’s benefits.


“There will be inbuilt flexibility on contributions payment under the informal sector scheme, depending on member’s circumstances. The scheme is targeting all workers in the informal sector including domestic workers,” he said recently.


After actuaries draw up a proposed model, Nssa will then consult the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, and SMEs and Co-operatives Development ministries, among other stakeholders.


While the informal sector is presently not covered by social security schemes, social security is a human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 22, 1948.

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