Civil servants in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, Bulawayo, have implored the Government to review the retirement age from 65 years to 40.
Government employees say the falling life expectancy means that most may not reach 65 years and therefore fail to claim their retirement benefits.
Speaking during a public hearing by the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare last Thursday, a civil servant in Bulawayo said:
As civil servants, we propose that in the Labour Amendment Bill they should reduce the retirement age to 40 years in sync with the depressed life expectancy.
The life we are living is now shortened due to various diseases, we are now even failing to reach 60 years.
He added that most fellow civil servants had died without claiming their retirement package and enjoying their contributions to the Zimbabwe National Social Security Authority (NSSA).
A member of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) concurred, saying workers are now dying young partly because of the country’s economic challenges. He said:
A number of challenges, among them different ailments, and economic conditions including loss of jobs and inability by many to secure health insurance, have seen many Zimbabweans arguably dying before reaching retirement.
This scenario has deprived many employees of enjoying their benefits. The law should allow us to at least get our benefits at 40 years, with probably 20 years of service.
In 2022, President Emmerson Mnangagwa approved the age of 65 years as the retirement age for civil servants.
Prior to 2022, regulations that were approved in 2002 provided for two pensionable ages in the civil service.
Under the 2000 regulations, those appointed on pensionable terms of service before 1 May 1992, had a pensionable age of 65 years.
Those appointed on or after 1 May 1992 had a pensionable age of 60 years.