The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) recommended getting rid of four privileges, which may cost civil servants billions of shillings.
According to the commission:
1) The non-practice allowance,
2) Retreat allowance,
3) Sitting allowance for institutional internal committee members
4) Task force allowance
All are instances of duplicate payment and need to be stopped.
The SRC reached its conclusion five months after commission chief Lyn Mengich promised that a review of the allowances policy would be done by year’s end. This decision enables the reduction of excessive benefits received by public employees, potentially saving the tax payers up to Sh100 billion annually.
Since 1999, the number of remunerative and facilitative allowances has increased from 31 to over 247 as a result of duplicate payments, placing pressure on the national budget. The SRC aims to keep allowances below 40% of a public employee’s gross pay in addition to lowering them.
Following the review, the SRC has now suggested eliminating the four allowances while still seeking feedback from the public.
Currently, public employees who participate in special assignments designed to evaluate, produce, and publish policy documents away from their workstations receive a retreat reimbursement.
However, the SRC argues that evaluating, developing, and generating policy documents is a work requirement that is considered when determining the relative worth of a job during a job assessment and is, therefore, compensated for by salary given to civil officials.
“Paying the allowance on top of the base wage is therefore equivalent to receiving double remuneration. As a result, SRC suggests that the allowance be eliminated and stopped being paid, the commission stated in a circular.
The SRC contends, however, that reviewing, creating, and producing policy documents is a work duty that is taken into account when establishing the relative worth of a job during a job appraisal and is, therefore, covered by salaries paid to civil servants.
“Paying the allowance in addition to the base salary is consequently the same as receiving two salaries.” SRC advises that the allowance be cancelled and will no longer be provided as a result, the commission said in a circular.
The SRC also seeks to do away with members’ sitting fees for internal committees established by institutions to assist in achieving their goals.
SRC tells internal institutional taskforce members that they are no longer eligible for the allowance as a result. Before paying the taskforce allowance, accounting officials had to speak with the SRC if it wasn’t going away.
“Furthermore, SRC gives guidance as follows: Accounting officers will approve payment of taskforce allowance on effective completion of the work within the budgetary provisions and advise by SRC,” the statement stated. It was underlined that in order for the commission to provide guidance on the payment of the allowances, accounting officers must present information such as proof of employment, timeframes and output, and confirmation of budgetary allotment.
A public official is only permitted to receive taskforce remuneration for up to 15 days per month, and they are not permitted to be compensated for more than one task force at a time. According to the SRC, the number of paid days in a task force accounts for the compensation given to public servants for performing their regular tasks throughout the tenure.
The statement said, “Where a public officer participates in a task force on a full-time basis for more than one month, the officer will be obliged to choose between the taskforce stipend and the monthly wage for the substantive job.
A change is also coming to the non-practice allowance, which was created to help public servants attract and retain particular rare, vital, and scarce professional abilities.
The commission claimed that although the provision was useful when it was initially adopted, circumstances have since changed, necessitating its elimination.
“Over the years, the public service’s capacity for professional abilities has steadily expanded to cover the void for which the non-practice allowance was payable. It has been observed that when a professional decides to pursue a career in the public sector, it suggests that the option offers the affected officer better prospects than are available elsewhere in the economy, the paper argued.
In light of this, SRC suggests that the non-practice stipend be eliminated and ceased to be payable; in cases where the payment of the allowance is required by contract, it will continue as a benefit to self. When payment of the allowance is negotiated under a CBA (collective bargaining agreement), the allowance shall be preserved until the expiration of the present CBA, according to SRC, which will offer assistance on implementation on a case-by-case basis.