File photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)
File photo: David Ritchie / African News Agency (ANA)

Teachers, older than 55, urged to consider early retirement

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Durban - As part of plans to reduce its massive wage bill and promote the employment of unemployed teachers, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is encouraging its ageing workforce to take early retirement.

Education officials, who appeared before the finance portfolio committee on Friday last week, revealed that most of the teachers in their employment were older than 55. The lion’s share of the education department’s R54billion budget goes towards the compensation of employees.

Sipho Nkosi, the chairperson of the finance portfolio committee, said that they were concerned with the revelations that many employees had reached early retirement age, but were still continuing to work.

“That is the fact they (Department of Education) revealed for the first time during their sitting on Friday.

“The Education Department has a problem that 91% of the budget goes towards salaries and 9% goes towards service delivery. That is different from the national norm which says 80% should go to salaries and 20% to service delivery.

“We have encouraged them to advise their employees to take advantage of the policy by the Department of Public Service that allows employees who are above the age of 55 to take early retirement, without losing their benefits,” he said.

Nkosi said fears had been expressed that early retirement could lead to a skills shortage.

Allen Thompson of the National Teachers Union said they were opposed to the move. 

“We want those who are healthy to remain in their jobs until the age of 65," he said. 

The Mercury

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