Senate Approves SERP Resolution
The Senate on Friday (March 23) approved the Pensions Public Service Special Early Retirement Programme Order 2018 Resolution.
The Special Early Retirement Programme (SERP) is a voluntary separation initiative that allows public sector employees, aged 50 to 59, under the non-contributory Government pension scheme, to take up early retirement through an incentivised package.
Special incentives have been included in the programme, such as two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for accumulated vacation leave.
The SERP, which is being undertaken through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, was opened on January 2, 2018.
Piloting the Resolution, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said of the 829 applications received, a total of 430 have so far been approved.
“I would like to remind members that the programme has a dual process for consideration of applications. First, it goes to the Permanent Secretary to ensure that there is an impact assessment in respect of the relevant Ministry, Department or Agency. Where it is not a Ministry that is being impacted, the Permanent Secretary is to consult with the management or leadership of the
particular agencies in order to ensure that approval of the person’s application will not result in a prejudicial impact on the functions of the organisation,” she explained.
Senator Johnson Smith said the process continues for the remaining applications.
She pointed out that the effective date for persons who are approved will be May 1, for their retirement to actually take place.
Senator Johnson Smith said although the target of 1,600 was not attained, “829 is not a bad record to have achieved.”
She expressed gratitude to the persons who have been integral to the process, including Permanent Secretaries and the staff at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.
Responding to questions posed by Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, regarding the demographics and category of applicants, Senator Johnson Smith said a report is expected to be presented once completed.
The SERP was offered in light of the recently passed Pensions (Public Service) Act 2017, which adjusts the terms under which public sector workers will retire.
The new Act will gradually increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 years; facilitate mandatory contributions by all pensionable officers towards their pension; and harmonise the legislation governing public sector pensions in a single statute.