The Government of Grenada is moving ahead with plans to increase the pension for public officers to 70%.

This was disclosed Tuesday by Minister for Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and CARICOM Affairs, Honourable Oliver Joseph, who is also Chairman of Government’s Pension Engagement Committee.

At the island’s weekly Post Cabinet Press Briefing Minister Joseph said Government and the trade unions and staff associations representing public officers reached agreement on this and it is included in the Memorandum of Understanding between the parties. While the issue of gratuity or the advanced payment of pension remains unresolved, both parties agreed on a pension of 70% for public officers.

Hon. Oliver Joseph

Minister Joseph explained that this is essentially a top-up of the pension paid by the National Insurance Scheme, which ranges generally from 30% to 58%, but can reach a maximum of 60%. Like the NIS pension, the Government pension will be payable at age 60 to persons who meet the qualifying criteria.

Honourable Joseph said, “Government will ensure that no worker goes home with no less than 70% of their last salary. That has been agreed upon in negotiations but not implemented. The Government has taken a decision that since there is no controversy surrounding the 70% and in heeding the call of workers who are only getting the NIS pension, we are moving swiftly to ensure 70% pension for all workers who have retired from the service and for those who will be retiring.”

Persons who would have already retired and are entitled only to NIS pension, will be paid the difference, retroactively.

Although the matter of gratuity is currently deadlocked, Minister Joseph gave assurances that whatever the outcome, public officers will, at that time, receive what is agreed upon.

He said, “As a Government, we have the responsibility to address the concerns of hundreds of workers who are retiring with only an NIS pension. We promised to do that and we are now fulfilling that promise. Almost on a daily basis, we hear the complaints from retirees that they are unable to exist on the NIS pension. Ensuring the 70% pension based on their last salary, is our way of addressing that concern.”

The newly announced 70% pension applies only to established workers, that is, workers who have been appointed definitively by the Public Service Commission in a post within the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. The Minister explained that Government will move subsequently to address matters relating to unestablished workers