The Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, has released crucial details that will guide deductions of 5% of public officers basic salary towards the new pension scheme on 1st January 2022.

In the new order Kinyua says public officers should realign their salaries to comply with 3% deduction as well as the provisions of section 19 (3) of the Employment Act, 2007 which requires an employee to take home not less than one third of their salary.

The scheme which started on 1st January 2021 saw all public officers losing 2% of the basic salary channeled towards the scheme but the amount will increase by 3% in January 2022.

Kinyua had directed implementation of the Public Service Superannuation Scheme to include all Civil Servants, Teachers and Disciplined Services.

Records on the current service pension scheme indicate there are 375,000 teachers, 128,000 police and prison staff, more than 270,000 pensioners and 75,000 dependants.

This means that public workers will cede about Sh2.4 billion monthly or Sh28 billion to the fund once its in full operation.

Kinyua said the rate of contribution will be graduated at the rate of 2% in the first year (2021); 5% in the second year (2022); and 7.5%  in the third year (2023).

However Kinyua said employees have the option to make additional voluntary contributions above the mandatory 7.5% of their basic salary.

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The Public Service Superannuation Scheme Act, 2012 was enacted as part of Government reform initiatives in the pensions sector.

The Act established the contributory Public Service Superannuation Scheme (PSSS) in line with the policy direction issued by Government through the National Treasury Circular No. 18 of 2010.

The Circular directed the conversion of all Defined Benefits Schemes in the public sector to Defined Contributory Schemes.

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The objective was to align public service pension schemes with best practice in the retirement benefits industry.

The Head of Public Service says membership of the Scheme shall comprise the following categories:

i)    Employees serving on permanent and pensionable terms of service and aged below 45 years as at 1st January, 2021;

ii)    New employees who join the Public Service on or after 1st January, 2021 on permanent and pensionable terms of service;

iii)   Employees aged 45 years  and above as at 1st January, 2021 who opt to join the new contributory Scheme; and

iv)   Employees whose services were transferred to a county government vide Public Service Commission Letter No. PSC/AON /91/XIV/ (25)  dated 17th May, 2016, are currently covered under the Public Service Pension Scheme, and fall under the first or third category above.

Treasury CS Mr Ukur Yatani says the move is aimed at reducing the pension burden currently borne in whole by the exchequer, especially in the Covid-19 era that has seen revenue sources depleted.

Teachers and civil servants, unlike workers in the private sector, do not contribute to their pension, with their benefits paid straight from taxes.

The free benefits increased the taxpayers’ pension burden to Sh121 billion in the year starting July 2021 from Sh15 billion in 2002.

Part of the pension burden was attributed to the government’s failure to push through necessary reforms, including kick-starting the contributory pension scheme that was first mooted eight years ago.

Yatani said the government will match the contributions with an amount equivalent to 15 per cent of every workers’ monthly pay.

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The Treasury is spending more to keep retired civil servants comfortable in retirement compared to health (Sh111 billion), water (Sh83.3 billion) and energy (Sh72 billion.)

Features of the Public Service Superannuation Scheme

a) Coverage

The Scheme will cover all civil servants, teachers and the disciplined services personnel (National Police Service, Prison Service and National Youth Service).

b)   Membership

Membership of the Scheme  shall comprise the following categories:

i)    Employees serving on permanent and pensionable  terms of service and aged below 45 years as at 1st January, 2021

in)    New employees who join the Public Service on or after 1st January, 2021 on permanent and pensionable terms of service

iii)   Employees aged 45 years  and above as at 1st January, 2021 who opt to join the new contributory Scheme; and

iv)   Employees whose services were transferred to a county government    vide Public Service Commission Letter No. PSC/AON /91/XIV/ (25)  dated   17th May, 2016, are currently covered under the Public Service Pension Scheme, and fall under the first or third category above.

c)   Contributions

i)    The PSSS is a Defined Contributory (DC) Pension Scheme.

Employees will contribute 7.5% of their basic salary.

The rate  of contribution will be graduated at the following rates:  2% in the first year; 5% in the second  year; and 7.5%  in the third year.

Employees will have the option to make additional voluntary contributions above the mandatory 7.5% of their basic salary.

Where an employee takes  this option, the Government will not increase its contribution.

ii)   The employer will contribute  15% of the employee’s basic salary.

iii)  The  provisions in (i) above will apply to staff on secondment and the  31pension contributions will cease with effect from 1st January, 2021 for those who join the Scheme.

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iv)  Contributions to the Widows and Children’s Pension Scheme (WCPS) and  National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will cease from the date an employee joins the scheme.

d)  Employees not covered

The following categories of employees will not be eligible to join the Scheme:

i)     Employees whose services are extended on Local Agreement Terms (contract) after retirement;

ii)   Employees engaged on Local Agreement Terms (contract); and

iii)  Employees aged 45 years and above as at 1st January, 2021 who do not opt to join the Scheme will remain  in the current scheme.

2.    Implementation

a)    Authorized Officers should  ensure that:

i)     Employees covered under this Scheme who are not on permanent and pensionable terms of  service, and are contributing to the National Social Security Fund are admitted to permanent and pensionable terms of service with effect from 1st January, 2021;

ii)   Officers realign their salaries to comply with the provisions of s.19 (3)  of the Employment Act, 2007 which requires an employee to take home not less than one third of their salary.

b)    The Ministry of Public Service and Gender shall provide a check-off facility to effect the contributions.

c)    Accounting Officers shall remit employee and government contributions by the 10th day of the next month following the due date, provided that:

i)    Where the Accounting Officer fails to deduct a member’s contribution, the sum will attract a compound interest at the rate of three percent per month; and

ii)   Where the Government fails to make employer contributions in any month, the sum will attract a compound interest at the rate of three percent per month.

d)   Employees’ records will be centrally converted to the Public Service Superannuation Scheme through the IPPD system based on the parameters set out in the Act.

MDCAs shall thereafter verify the records to ascertain their correctness.

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