The payment of pensions and other benefits to teachers and civil servants in Kenya was started by the colonial government, first for Europeans in 1927 and for non-Europeans from 1932.
The Pensions Act (Cap.189), of the laws of Kenya, came into operation in its present form on January 1, 1946. Since then, it has been amended from time to time in order to accommodate the changing phases of work and the work environment of workers.
The Pensions Act (Cap.189) makes provisions for the granting and regulating payment of pensions, gratuities and other allowances in respect of the public service for officers under the government of Kenya.
An officer who is not eligible for a pension, either because s/he is a holder of a non-pensionable office or a holder of a pensionable office in which s/he has not been confirmed, contributes to NSSF that came into effect in 1966 for non-pensionable officers. In addition, these officers are expected to be covered under the new NSSF scheme. The NSSF Act of 2013 defines this arrangement as one that should cater for workers who do not qualify for a normal pension scheme.
A provident fund is a retirement budget by the government in which the retiree is given savings as a lump sum payment. The scheme works by workers contributing to the budget, which is held and managed by the government until the retirees can withdraw when the time comes. The provident fund pays out as a lump sum payment, meaning contributors (retirees) can withdraw all the reserves at a go.
A provident fund isn’t the same as a pension account. A provident allotment is a retirement plan run by the government, while an annuity is a retirement plan run by the employer. Provident funds withdrawals are allowed under specific conditions. You can access the retirement reserves if you resign, retire, get terminated, have relocated to another country, or are rendered unable to work due to medical reasons.
The provident fund in Kenya deducts cash from the employee and the employer, giving 7.5 per cent of their basic earnings. A provident fund in Kenya is a scheme that pays out lump sums and other similar benefits to employees who leave their jobs through early retirement, change of jobs, actual retirement or to the dependents of employees who die.
To claim a provident fund the affected persons or their families contact their former employers to check if they have been contributing. Then provide proof of identity at their local branches for further assistance.
A provident fund is a government-managed programme that requires mandatory savings. In many developing countries, the scheme is a plan that pays out lump sums and other comparable benefits to employees who leave their jobs or to their dependents in the event of their death.
The reserve benefits contributors as it offers a source of cash to retirees who can use the money to buy an annuity, invest it or use it as they deem fit.
In 2015, the government made an attempt to whisk all teachers into the NSSF arrangement; the move was vehemently opposed by teachers’ unions with Knut arguing it was tantamount to duplicating a pensions scheme on teachers.
The matter was headed to court in petitions 35 of 2014, 34 of 2014, 49 of 2014 and 50 of 2014 at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi. The move was then halted on grounds of constitutionalism.
Knut proposed in 2015 that the employers’ contribute 15 per cent of the basic pay of their employees and workers contribute 7.5 per cent. Knut, however, insisted that no teachers’ money should be deducted in the name of pension of whichever percentage to NSSF unless both the employer and the employee come to an agreement.
Later, the NSSF’s board of trustees appealed against the lower court’s judgment. The appellant’s court on February 3, 2023 overturned the lower court’s judgment, allowing the fund to deduct all workers the earlier proposed monies.
Teachers were surprised to see a deduction of NSSF at the end of July, 2023. That which was resisted and sent back to stakeholders’ involvement and then consideration. The current understanding of the Pensions Act, Chapter 189, is that pension is for employees on permanent and pensionable terms whereas NSSF is an arrangement made for workers on contract; having an employee subjected to both is a duplication of the same arrangement.
In the foregoing circumstances, teachers have not had a salary increment in the last six years. The TSC and the Knut Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement running 2021-2024 did not have a salary component for teachers; this angered teachers to the core, but during the same period; provident fund has been implemented to 7.5 per cent, the housing levy shall be implemented once the matter pending in courts is resolved and now the NSSF deductions, which has been done in earnest.
Our considered opinion is that authorities superintending over NSSF deductions should consider engaging teachers more through their elected representatives before further deductions are done.
Teachers’ payslips are mutilated beyond imaginable levels. The cost of living is high and any attempt to touch teachers’ payslip might not be received positively. Let us talk.
-By Collins Oyuu