ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Monday October 28, 2019 – The Grenada government is seeking to bring some relief to retired public officers who are currently not receiving benefits, proposing that they receive 70 per cent of their last salary, pending resolution of a court case regarding pensions.
That amount would include the combined total of National Insurance Scheme (NIS) benefits and a top-up from government.
The Dr Keith Mitchell-led administration said in a statement that in an effort to provide some relief pending the resolution of the over 30-year old issue of pension to public officers, the payment would be provided as a buffer.
Officials from the Ministries of Finance and Legal Affairs and the Department of Public Administration met last week with individuals who are eligible for the proposed advanced payment. To be eligible for this benefit, persons should have been definitively appointed to an established position and served continuously for a minimum period of 26 years and eight months, retired at the age of 60 and have agreed to the advanced payment.
Government has assured retirees that their choice to accept the proposed advance payment does not nullify their eligibility to receive whatever benefits are determined by the court, when the pension matter is resolved.
“Retirees are also assured that the value of their pension benefits as determined by the court will not be affected as the advance payment would merely be reconciled accordingly. In short, the retirees agreeing to the proposed arrangements have nothing to lose,” the statement said.
Addressing the retirees at last week’s meeting, Prime Minister Mitchell said while his administration had nothing to do with the decision to remove pension, “we accepted the moral responsibility to restore and reform pension for the benefit of those who have given yeoman service to the Government and people of this country”.
“My philosophical position, not just with pension, but generally, is that moral responsibility is far more important than legal,” he added.
The Prime Minister further stated that although Government’s attempt to reform and restore pension reached a deadlock position with the unions and was taken to court, he has no regrets.
“Government could wait for the outcome of the legal matter but while we wait, Government has decided to pay what it can afford because it recognizes that persons have immediate needs. It may not be able to address all of your needs but it is our response to the financial challenges that you may be facing,” he said.
Retirees who have agreed to accept the advanced payment, will begin receiving their payment from October 30, inclusive of any retroactive amounts from the date of retirement.
Thereafter, the monthly payment from Government will be the top-up that will ensure that retirees take home at least 70 per cent of their last salary, when combined with the NIS benefit.