Gov’t to Introduce Voluntary Retirement Programme

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, makes his contribution to the debate on the Pensions (Public Service) Act 2016 in the House of Representatives on March 28.

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says a new programme will be introduced in the 2017/18 financial year for persons opting for early retirement.
  • He noted that the initiative is not part of the economic-support programme of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but an act of an “independent Parliament to secure Jamaica in our own interest”.
  • Mr. Holness noted that for such a programme to be effective, plans for its implementation must begin early.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says a new programme will be introduced in the 2017/18 financial year for persons opting for early retirement.

“I think I should stress that this is a voluntary programme. We’re going to encourage persons to take it. It is not a compulsory programme,” he said, noting that the move represents an overall strategy to reduce the size of the public-sector wage bill.

Mr. Holness noted that for such a programme to be effective, plans for its implementation must begin early.

“We have to budget for it,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister was contributing to debate on the Pensions (Public Service) Act 2016 in the House of Representatives on March 28.

He urged the members to pass the Bill in unanimity in order to improve the public-sector pension arrangements.

The Bill, among other things, seeks to make it mandatory for all pensionable officers to contribute five per cent of their basic salary towards their pension. It will also improve actuarial sustainability and strengthen the governance of the scheme.

It also provides for the retirement age to gradually increase from age 60 to 65, harmonise the legislation governing public-sector pensions in a single statute, while repealing several enactments that previously dealt with pensions.

In opening debate on the Bill on March 15, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, said over the years, the cost of public-sector pension has been increasing and is likely to continue as pensioners live longer.

He argued that the longer the reform process is delayed, the greater the liabilities that the Government will accrue and the worse off it will eventually be for the new pensioners, if the Government cannot finance payment.

Debate on the Bill is expected to continue next week.

JIS Social