In praise of the Salary Reviews

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Mauritius is one of the very few countries in Africa where people benefit from pensions which are regularly revised. The basic retirement pension, commonly known as the old age pension that is paid indiscriminately to all citizens of the Republic on reaching the age of 60, is annually reviewed (through enactment) to compensate for any increase in the cost of living. The “occupational pension” which one gets on retirement (I am referring to public sector employees) is revised at each public sector salary review.

Prior to 1987, the pensions of retired pubic officers were not adjusted in the context of overall salary reviews. The pensioners were only compensated for any increase in the cost of living. The pensioners were in a way the laissés-pour-compte. In 1988 Salaries Commissioner D. Chesworth, who reviewed the 1987 PRB reports, made the historical recommendation that the pensions of retired public officers be recomputed on the basis of revised emoluments of relevant grades as from the date of implementation of new salaries following a general review exercise.

Since then, the PRB in its general salary review reports has maintained this proviso and made firm recommendations so that the pensions of retired public officers are revised on the basis of the new revised salary of the grade they retired from. Provision is also made to adjust pensions in the event a grade no longer exists but there are still pensioners who belong to the (defunct) grade. The recommendations to that effect have been made at chapter 16 of Volume1 of the 2016 PRB Report. And retirees do not have to opt for the revised pension. It is payable straightaway.

The safety net for older people (pensioners) is strong from this angle. Old people taking responsibility for the judicious use of their finances can lead a reasonably comfortable life and remain vibrant members of society.

In old age, our sight weakens, not our ability to judge… be it a salary review!

*  Published in print edition on 8 April 2016

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