THE retirement age of 60 or above is better for workers and it is also in line with retirement trends in the region, Ministry of Labour and Social Security Director Anthony Dumingu has said.
In November 2014, the retirement age in Zambia moved from 55 to 65 years under the Statutory Instrument (SI) number 63.
In May 2015, the retirement age was revised to 60 years with options of 55 and 65 respectively as early and late retirement while 60 is normal retirement under the SI number 24.
Mr Dumingu said workers would have more money if they retired at 60 or above saying most countries in Central and Southern Africa were revising their retirement age upwards.
He was speaking in Livingstone at Fairmount Hotel at the just ended the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) Employer Seminar for various stakeholders in the tourist capital.
The seminar was meant to sensitise employees on the Employment Amended Act No. 15 of 2015 which had, among other things, simplified the issue of casualisation.
Mr Dumingu said the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Botswana had the retirement age of 65 respectively while Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mauritius had the retirement age of 60.
“Unfortunately most people retire and become poor because they are not ready for retirement and that is why countries are adjusting their retirement age upwards to give you more time to prepare.
“If you retire later, the scheme will have more money to pay you. The older you grow, the wiser you become,” Mr Dumingu said.
He also said there was need to harmonise the retirement age across the private sector under supplementary schemes.
The new NAPSA (Amendment) Act number 7 of 2015 was assented to on August 2015 and it provides for pensionable age at 60 which means that members joining the Scheme after August 14, 2015 will attain normal retirement at 60.
Members who joined the Scheme before August 2015 can claim their retirement pension benefits on the attainment of 50 or 55 years or they can elect to retire at 60 or 65 years under the conditions of the Amendment Act.
And speaking in an interview during the seminar, Labour Commissioner Cecelia Mulindeti Kamanga bemoaned rampart cases of casualisation in Livingstone.
Ms Kamanga said the Ministry of Labour and Social Security had experienced various forms of casualisation of labour in Livingstone where jobs were straight forward and permanent in nature but people were still employed on casual basis.
According to a new law, casualisation is employment of a person under a contract of service for work which is not permanent in nature under terms and conditions of employment for casual worker.
The new law graduates a person from a casual employee to a short term employee at the expiry of the initial six months of engagement.
Further, an employee engaged on short term contracts graduates to a fixed term employee and finally to a permanent employee while the old law had no room for one to graduate.
“Livingstone is a tourist capital of the country and for us it is a developmental issue as the economy thrives through such developments such as tourism.
“The issue of compliance is very important. With the new law coming in, there is need to sensitise everyone employers and employers and that is the objective of the seminar here in Livingstone to try and reach out to many employers,” Ms Kamanga said.
She said even the compliance of the old law was a challenge as the country had few inspectors.
“Now we have sent a new inspector who reported last month to beef up the other who was already here.
“We also have an inspector for Kalomo. The issue of labour inspectors is not an issue here. We are encouraging self-inspections from employers and employees,” she said.
Ms Kamanga said trade unions in Livingstone had increased and the Ministry wanted to reach out to many unions and employers.
“People should inspect themselves and send monthly returns to the labour commissioner on how they have implemented the new law without necessarily visiting them at their work place,” she said.
On allegations of corruption among some labour inspectors, Ms Kamanga said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was well developed to handle such cases.
“When our officers are found to be corrupt, every citizen has a right to take the officers to ACC and they will be dealt with,” she said.