Sacked public workers to get full pension
What you need to know:
- Court ruled that denying the officers such benefits is unconstitutional and a violation of the right to property.
- PSC on October 21 directed all authorised officers in government to inform officers exiting the government of their right to accrued benefits, “irrespective of the modality of exit”.
- The decision will be a relief to hundreds of civil servants who have been sacked in the past and forced to go home without a penny.
Dismissed civil servants are entitled to their full retirement package, a court has directed, sending the Public Service Commission (PSC) back to the drawing board over its decades-long practice of denying those sacked pension, gratuity and other benefits.
Citing various laws, including the repealed Service Commission Act, Public Service Commission Act, 2017 and the Pensions Act, the Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled that denying the officers such benefits is unconstitutional and a violation of the right to property.
Following the court decision, PSC on October 21 directed all authorised officers in government to inform officers exiting the government of their right to accrued benefits, “irrespective of the modality of exit”.
The letter by PSC Chairman Anthony Muchiri addressed to “All authorised officers” noted that following the court directive, the public service would start settling all accrued benefits to officers sacked from the government.
“The commission is cognisant of decisions by the Employment and Labour Relations Court which have given guidance that any provision that requires persons who are dismissed from service to forfeit all claims to pension is unconstitutional as it contravenes the clear provisions of Articles 41(1) and 2(b) on fair labour practices and working conditions, Article 40 on the protection of the right to property and Article 43(1)(e) on the right to social security,” the letter by Mr Muchiri stated.
The letter recognised that while the law previously empowered the public service to deny dismissed officers benefits, the court’s decision marked the end of the practice.
“The courts have further guided that entitlement to pension, gratuity or any social benefit is a right to property within the meaning of Article 40 of the Constitution. The courts have found it unconstitutional and a violation of the right to property to negate enjoyment of such property or right to such property attained over time,” Mr Muchiri stated.
“In this regard, you are directed to inform officers exiting the service of their right to terminal accrued benefits irrespective of the modality of exit. Please note and take action accordingly,” added the letter.
The decision will be a relief to hundreds of civil servants who have been sacked in the past and forced to go home without a penny.
In the PSC’s latest annual report – 2020/21 – at least 130 employees were dismissed from the service, forming about 2.8 per cent of officers who exited the service during the year.
Public servants exit service through retirement under the “50-year” rule, the mandatory age of 60 and 65 years and medical grounds, death, transfer of service, dismissal, termination of the contract, and the abolition of office.
“During the period, 4,664 officers exited the service in 48 MDAs (ministries departments and agencies),” the PSC stated in the report. Of the 130 officers who were dismissed, the majority were drawn from prisons (104) and health (16), the report noted.
It is still not clear whether the court’s decision provides room for civil servants dismissed in the past and forced to go home without their benefits to come back for their claims.
“The requirement for a public officer who is dismissed to forfeit all rights or claims to pension, gratuity, annual allowances or other retiring awards and any right of claim the officer enjoys in regard to leave or passages at public expense was previously encapsulated in the Service Commission Act, CAP 185 which has since been repealed,” Mr Muchiri’s letter partly noted.