Oran A. Hall, Contributor
I have been employed by the State for 10 years now. I am currently being filed for to live in the United States in the next five years at the most. I am of the view that I am pensionable due to the number of years I have worked with the State thus far. Am I correct?
Under the Pensions Act, an officer should have at least 10 years of continuous service to qualify for retirement from the service. Such an officer may retire on one or other of the following conditions:
a. On attaining the age of 55, or 50 years in special circumstances, with the approval of the governor general;
b. In the case of transfer to other public service, that is, recognised service other than under the Government of Jamaica, on retirement from such service in circumstances in which he is permitted by the Law or Regulations applicable to that service to retire on pension;
c. On medical evidence to the satisfaction of the Governor General that he is incapable of discharging his duties efficiently by reason of an infirmity of the body which is likely to be permanent or an infirmity of the mind;
d. On the abolition of office;
e. On reorganisation of service by which greater efficiency may be effected;
f. On retirement in the public interest.
An officer may be compulsorily retired at age 55, or at 50, with the approval of the Governor General. The above notwithstanding, the normal retirement age is 60.
The rate of pension is determined by converting the period of the employee's employment to completed months and then dividing that by 540. For example, the amount of completed months in 10 years would be 120. This is then multiplied by his pensionable emoluments.
An officer on retirement may elect to receive, in lieu of his full pension, a reduced pension at the rate of three-quarters of such full pension, plus a gratuity of 12.5 times one-fourth of the full pension.
An officer who retires with less than 10 years service is eligible to receive a gratuity equivalent to five times what his annual rate of pension would be if there was no minimum service to qualify for a pension.
Where an officer who has been confirmed in his post dies while in service, there may be paid to his estate one year's pensionable emoluments, or the gratuity which the deceased would have received if he had retired at the date of his death and had elected to receive a reduced pension and gratuity, whichever is the greater.
Such gratuity is paid to the estate and not to the spouse and payment is made on the production of probate of will or letters of administration granted in the estate.
Where an officer retires on the ground of ill-health, and service is 10 years or more but less than 20 years, the officer is credited with additional years to bring the service up to 20 years or the difference between the officer's age and 60 years, whichever is less.
The Pension Act now allows for breaks in service, due to voluntary resignation or dismissal for misconduct, to be disregarded for the purpose of calculating the length of an officer's service when calculating his pension, but certain conditions must be satisfied.
A deferred pension is payable at the normal retirement age to officers who satisfy certain specified conditions but who left the service prior to attaining retirement age.
For more information on this subject visit www.mof.gov.jm
Oran A. Hall, a member of the Caribbean Financial Planning Association and principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers free counsel and advice on personal financial planning. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.