CS pensioners get increase on ex-gratia payments

| 23/12/2011

Retirement3.jpg(CNS): Government has approved changes to the regulations regarding ex-gratia pensions for some retired Caymanian public sector workers who will see their payments increased by $100 or $150 per month depending on their length of service. Anomalies in the law regarding people who were not Caymanian when they first joined government and who missed out on benefits for some of their years of service have been addressed by Cabinet in the regulations, the deputy governor revealed, Thursday a move set to cost government around $350,000 per annum.

Extending these benefits will result in an increase in the annual costs of the ex-gratia pensions from just over $400Kpa to just under $750Kp.a but Donovan Ebanks said was the right decision “The status quo simply wasn’t any longer justifiable,” he said.
“No Caymanian is going to be able to provide for themselves in retirement based on $200p.m. or $300p.m. The good news is that we were able to completely put an end to earning qualifying service to this ex-gratia benefit 12 years ago.

“Everyone who has been employed by the Cayman Islands government since the dawn of this new century accrues a pension entitlement and thus cannot accrue an ex-gratia pension entitlement too. But we have to do what is right by those Caymanians who toiled before we had that universal pension benefit,” Ebanks added.

Under the new amending regulations, a Caymanian already in receipt of an ex-gratia pension will be eligible to have that revised either from $200 each month to $300 if they served four or more years but less than ten years and from $300 to the minimum of $450p.m if they served ten or more years.

Some of the Caymanians who will benefit from the increase worked for over 15, 20 or even 25 years without any entitlement. The changes relate to the Public Service Pensions Law and the Public Service Pensions (Ex-Gratia Pensions)(Amendment) Regulations, 2011 which were issued by extraordinary gazette on 15 December. (See document here)

The story behind the change started with the enactment of the Public Service Pensions Law in 1999 which brought with it the universal provision of pension benefits to all public servants and an investigation by the former Complaints Commissioner John Epp who uncovered the fact that some Caymanians had received no pension benefits at all because they were not Caymanian when they joined government.

By 2001, all serving public servants were enrolled in either the ‘defined benefits plan’ or the ‘defined contribution plan’. But before then pension benefits had been limited to Caymanians. As a result of the various criteria that existed, such as a minimum ten years of service and the different ‘terms of service’ for different categories of employees, not all Caymanians got pension entitlements for all of the years that they had served.

The Public Service Pensions Law recognised the problem and introduce the award of an ‘ex-gratia pension’ – a benefit that is payable to a Caymanian for government workers who did not earn either eligibility for a pension or any other equivalent allowance because they 

In late-2006 an Own Motion Investigation by the Office of the Complaints Commissioner found that civil servants who were not Caymanians when they were serving still missed out on at the ex-gratia pension payments.  In May 2009, Cabinet approved amending Public Service Pensions (Ex-Gratia Pensions) Regulations, 2004 to address those Caymanians who have served as public servants for considerable periods but which they neither received, nor were eligible to receive, any pension or other benefit.

When that amendment was passed it failed to cater to those pensioners who were already in receipt of an ex-gratia pension. Only new applicants after May 2009 who were successful received the new dispensations.

“This was extremely disappointing to those persons who had served well over ten years and who were keenly looking forward to being able to receive something more to allow them to better look after themselves now that  they have retired”, said Ebanks. “I’m extremely pleased that Cabinet recently approved the Public Service Pensions (Ex-Gratia Pensions) (Amendment) Regulations, 2011 and that these issues have now been addressed and sorted out.”

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  1. And a one..and.. a two says:

    This may be well-deserved, and a nice gesture, but it's also confusing.  What about the several hundred million dollars of missing pesnion and health care premiums the government has failed to make for existing Civil Servants?  Oh I get it they won't have to worry about it.  The last government didn't worry about it, and the one before that wasn't concerned. Because the next government would have to deal with it or the one after that. 

    Like Russian roulette, some government, sometime, will have to face retiring CS members with the bad news that they have not followed their own NPL.  The results?  They will lose.  Not personally, because many are collecting their pensions now just the next election.


  2. Ex:Pat-TCI says:

    Right From the Mike Missisck Play Book!


  3. Anonymous says:

    10:51 It is so obnoxious of you to think this way of our hardworking people that have so willing gave of their services, may be!!  before you landed.  Just think of the funds that our other services have been supplying to other nationalties that probably have never done too much for the Islands but to become a burder on our purse strings – that is what I call "LUXURY" in the full sense of the word.

    • Anonymous says:

      13:41: I hope you are not a civil servant or pensioner because if you are the illiteracy of your post explains a lot about the mess we are in.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am hppy to know that something is being done for those Caymanians that have served the Cayman Islands Government, and have giving their all to the service.  I know of one K. Parsons who worked with government for 21 years from February 1989 – June 2009 on a Local Contract with no breaks, and was receiving the COS.  When the Contracted Officers Supplement was discontinued in December 1999 she was offered no  other suppplement but a straight salary.  It was understood that she should have been convereted to the pension scheme as a Caymanian, but no one looks after  these type of anormolies in the Service. She is now retired and receives nothing from the Government – and it is a shame that after so many years of wotk with the Immigration Department  that she retired with no benefits or compensation to live off.

    This is a  matter that requires addressing beyond the Ex-gratia Compensations.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell your friend to go down to the pension office and put an application in. If they qualify then I am sure they will start to receive a payment but if not then they wont.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree withe writer concerning Mrs. K Parson. she spent all of her working years with the Immigration Dept giving exemplory service to our Island. Now, Govt has retired her and she is not getting one single penny for her many dedicated years of service to our country.  The sad part of this story is that so many Caymanians like her are feeling the samy dreadful pain.  Government needs needs to do something about this dreadful injustice to our hardworking Caymanians..

    • anonymous says:

      How do you think the Caymanians who worked for years, received no COS and now on a very small pension would feel when someone who already got the COS also starts getting pension?The COS could, or should, have been invested in a private sector pension shceme.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What about people who work with government for years and although they got c.o.s. they are now left without medical coverage in their golden years. What is going to be done for them?

    Are they going to die when they get a serious bout of illness because they had no medical coverage? That is very poor on the part of Government

    • Anonymous says:

      COS should've been saved towards their pension.  When COS was discontinued and those on local contract received their basic salary with no compensation they should've interceded into the matter then.  Some local contracts were awared because those employees did not confirm to the entry level into the service and later on did not contribute to the pension scheme.

      If they worked after the cessation of the COS and exceeded the retirement age, how much would they stand to benefit?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where will Government get the money to pay for this luxury.?  Where else but out of the hides of private sector workers. Expect the cost of living to increase.

    • Soul searcher says:

      10:51 why dont you people butt out of Caymanians business.  Mind your own country business alone and leave us to make our own decisions

      • Johnny Furreigner says:

        Caymankind in action.  We are the ones being disproportionately hosed by duties and taxes to fund Caymanians who never paid a cent of income tax in their lives.  So since we are paying for this, I am going to tell you what I think. 

      • Anonymous says:

        18:21 you don't like to hear the truth do you? It does not matter what nationality that speak the truth , its the truth just the same. It is unjust, and imoral, and all other descriptions that could describe it that people should have to work 15, 20, 25, 30 years with Government and at the end they get no pensions or medical coverages. Not because its Cayman you think people or Government can do any injustice to less fortunate people. If this was so you could do any thing to your own children within the perimeter of your yard and no one could challenge you. Cayman is a part of the world community and outsiders will notice what you do to your own people if these actions go too far, and they can boycott you and impose sanctions on your country. There is freedom to write these posts on the internet and you or no one can stop this.Just look around you and listen to the news. To make matters worse , Cayman has a mother country to answer to. You just cant do anything to people.Its the 21st century remember?

    • Anonymous says:

      10:51  What LUXURY are you talking about??????  Compare $400 per month to your salary or others' salary of say $4-$10,000.00  per month.  There are many ex-Civil servants who worked very hard without getting any pension at all – do you consider that fair??  How selfish can one be???  Everyone has to survive on this very expensive Island. A lot of sacrifice was made by many hard working Caymanians and now others are reaping the benefits!!   Private sector??  We are all contributing to the economy here – don't we all live here??

    • Anonymous says:

      Annual cost is $350,000; so financial impact is roughly the same as a "business trip" for our leader and entourage.