LEGAL AID: My employer won't release my pension contributions

Wednesday March 18 2020
Distressed worker

They have insisted that I attend the hearing before authorising my dues. PHOTO | COURTESY

By ERIC MUKOYA

Hi,

My employer refused to authorise my pension contribution release after I had resigned.

They claim that I was to attend disciplinary hearing before I resigned.

To that effect, they have insisted that I attend the hearing before authorising my dues.

Please advise. 

Retirement from regular employment into gainful use of time in old age is a fundamental right and quite a comforting thought. Therefore, your concern mirrors the fears that most employed harbour.

However, your situation provides a platform for learning about retirement schemes in the market and the laws that govern them.

There are three types of pension schemes which include:

a) statutory public pension fund, which is managed by the state. This is a mandatory requirement for every employer.

b) occupational pension scheme that is primarily sponsored by an employer and only open to employees, if eligible

c) individual pension scheme that is offered by registered pension service providers and open to everyone who may afford, irrespective of their income generation pathways.

The Retirement Benefits Act provides for the different pension schemes, but each has its own regulatory framework.

In your case, we wish to refer to the occupational pension scheme that is governed by the Retirement Benefits (Occupational Retirement Benefits Scheme) Regulation of 2000.

Under Occupational scheme, employees are entitled to 100% of their contribution and 50% of employers’ contribution upon termination of employment.

How termination of employment comes about is immaterial.

In this regard, it is expected that your employer will communicate to the pension service provider to execute the obligations as set in law for you to access your pension in the manner afore-described in this text.

However, should it be that you are part of the Public Pension scheme then your benefits will only be accessed upon the following scenarios: i) attainment of at least 50 years and is no longer in regular employment; or, ii) attainment of 55 years or upon retirement; or, iii) if the benefits are payable to a survivor.

In view of the above, your former employer doesn’t have any legal right to hold your benefits pending disciplinary proceedings unless your resignation is yet to be accepted.

If the current stalemate persists, you may wish to engage the service of Retirement Benefit Authority.