By Yvonne Chebani, Nairobi
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu-K) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has welcomed a move by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) board of trustees to start implementing the new rates.
Atwoli said it is an implementation of the NSSF Act of 2013.
“Following the decision of the Court of Appeal to stay the whole judgment of the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) on the NSSF Act of 2013, Cotu (K) welcomes the decision by the NSSF Board of Trustees to effective immediately implement the NSSF Act, 2013,” stated Atwoli.
“Primarily, social security is a human right that focuses on addressing the universal need for protection against certain life risks and social needs. This explains why the ILO, under Convention no. 102 of 1952, sets out the minimum standards for the provision of social security. Equally, the Constitution of Kenya 2010, under Article 43 on Economic and Social Rights, provides that every Kenyan Citizen is entitled to a pension and social security,” he added.
According to Atwoli, he said that Cotu have backed the new NSSF rates then went ahead to explain that it was an implementation of the NSSF Act of 2013.
“Consequently, the move to effective immediately implement the NSSF Act, 2013 is welcomed considering it makes it mandatory for employers to ensure that workers have a provident fund and a pension scheme” said Atwoli.
He added: “Heretofore, many workers have only been contributing to and receiving funds from the provident fund, which is a lump sum payment that workers have been receiving at a go. After receiving the lump sum from the provident fund, Kenyan workers have been left exposed to old age poverty with no social security covering them,”
Moving forward, Kenyan workers will be contributing to and receiving funds from the pension fund under the NSSF which is a combination of both the provident fund (Tier I) and the pension fund (Tier II).
The NSSF Act provides that an employer may opt out of Tier II, as provided by the NSSF, for a better scheme. This means that over and above the lump sum payment received at a go, upon retirement or as provided by the NSSF Act, 2013, Kenyan workers will be entitled to monthly benefits, upon retirement, as they would have respectively contributed under the Tier II.
The deduction from the workers salary is not a tax but there will be benefits from the deduction upon retirement as it is well stated in the NSSF Act, 2013.
He further stated that Cotu is ready to discuss and solve every challenge that might be associated with the implementation of the NSSF Act 2013. As Cotu they are calling upon the NSSF Board of trustees and a competent managing CEO who will go against corruption.
“Finally, Cotu (K) would like to remind Kenyan workers that the NSSF deduction is not a tax. These are funds that they will have access to upon retirement or as provided for by the NSSF Act, 2013,” said Atwoli
He went on: “Cotu (K) is ready, willing, and available to have a high-level tripartite consultation, as provided for in ILO Convention 144, to discuss and resolve some of the teething problems that might be associated with the seamless implementation of the NSSF Act, 2013,”.