A bill before Parliament could see retirees in the civil service rehired as it creates a framework for a post-retirement employment programme.
The Geriatric Bill, 2021, is sponsored by Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba. It focuses on the welfare of elderly Kenyans and aims to improve their living conditions by guaranteeing their rights including dignity and safety.
“The principal object of this Bill is to give effect to Article 57 of the Constitution by establishing a legal framework for the treatment of older members of society,” Wamuchomba stated.
It tasks the Public Service Cabinet Secretary in conjunction with other players with crafting regulations to govern the rehiring of retirees in areas including health, national security and education.
“The Cabinet Secretary (Public Service) shall in consultation with the National Council for Older Members of Society, State agencies and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission make regulation for voluntary or non-voluntary post-retirement employment of older members of society, on scaled hours, in the following critical areas-health, national security, education and any other service areas as may be determined by the Cabinet Secretary,” the bill states.
If it becomes law, the bill would create opportunities for thousands of retirees across professions including teaching, the police and military.
Under it, individuals who have attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 years will earn a monthly salary for the duration of the new employment terms.
The National Treasury forecasts that spending on salaries and allowances will rise to Ksh550.7 billion in the year to June 2023. To rein in the skyrocketing wage bill, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) announced in June 2021 the freezing of review of basic salary structures, allowances, and benefits for all public servants from the 2021/22 fiscal year to 2022/23.
This in addition to a hiring freeze which has contributed to an ageing workforce in the public service. More than 60,000 public servants retired in the three years to June 2020.
It remains to be seen how the bill, if successful, will affect pension claims and gratuity. Ksh153.64 Billion was allocated by the Treasury in the current financial year to honour monthly pensions claims and gratuity pay.