SRC: 40% allowances cap To Begin In July

SRC: 40% allowances cap To Begin In July

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission will soon publish guidelines capping allowances for public officers at 40 per cent of their basic pay.

Chairperson Lyn Mengich said that the guidelines will be in force by the end of June or beginning of July.

The SRC chairperson said the commission has stopped receiving submissions from stakeholders on the proposal made in last September, completing public input.

“We have gone through the views expressed by stakeholders during public participation. We will soon publish the guidelines. We are timing to publish in June or early July,” Mengich said.

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She said the new pay rules are being subjected to due process. Once published in a Gazette Notice by the SRC, the guidelines come into force.

The SRC wants allowances paid to state officers and other public officers capped at 40 per cent to control the burgeoning wage bill.

Once enforced, taxpayers will no longer foot water and electricity bills for civil servants as well as other ‘unnecessary’ allowances, as part of the efforts to achieve the 40 per cent cap.

Also to be abolished are allowances paid to civil servants for attending a retreat or for participating in a conference away from their work stations.

In the Draft Allowances and Benefits Policy, SRC also seeks to abolish responsibility allowance – paid to civil servants for additional roles.

Medical and security allowances to different cadres as well as entertainment allowance are targeted in the reforms.

Transport allowances will also be limited to special cases, with public sector employees encouraged to use public service transport and claim reimbursement if none is provided.

Quarter per diem, paid to officers when out of the country, were also targeted in the changes.

SRC is also reviewing areas designated as hardship postings as well as non-practising allowances for judges and health workers.

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The extra perks, set to go in the radical cuts, are blamed for pushing the public sector wage bill over the current Sh820 billion.

Allowances for more than 865,200 state and public officers were about Sh322 billion in FY 2018-19.

The country’s wage bill was Sh434 billion as of June 2013 and shot up to Sh526 billion in the year to June 2014.

It rose to Sh558 billion, Sh614 billion, Sh663 billion, Sh733 billion, and to Sh795 billion in the successive years.

The commission has proposed allowances be classified in 10 broad categories within which the extra pay will be harmonised.

They will be paid as commuter, house, extraneous, special responsibility, overtime, disability guide, honoraria, risk, transfer, and foreign services allowances.

Public service institutions shall be required to procure a comprehensive medical insurance cover or provide an in-house medical facility for its staff.

The SRC intends to convert the perks to extraneous allowances or social responsibility allowances  for eligible persons, to be part of their responsibility allowance.

For sitting allowances, MPs will be required to enact laws capping frequency and number of meetings by boards of state corporations, tribunals and committees.

Annual leave allowance — to cover an officer’s travel cost in case one takes at least half of the annual provisions — will be standardised across the Public Service.

Extraneous allowances will cater for working on weekends and holidays, handling animals and working extra hours.

Special responsibility allowance will be paid for officially sponsored activities, firearms handling, leadership, coordination and management support.

Accommodation, night, night out, out of station, per diem and maintenance allowances will be paid as daily subsistence allowance.

Mileage and motor vehicle allowances – paid to compensate for use of personal vehicles — will now be paid out as transport claims.

Communication facilitation will cater to airtime, mobile and telephone allowances.

Public institutions will be granted six months — effective on the date of the publication of the guidelines — to implement the changes.

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