Since the employer’s announcement that it would, for a window period of 1 April to 30 September 2019, be introducing an early retirement option for employees between the ages of 55 and 60 years, there has been very little development.

The whole initiative has been ill-constructed. There had been no consultation with the unions on the matter before the announcement was made and despite demands in the PSCBC that the employer should indicate the ratio per department of the number of employees that could potentially be allowed to leave, the employer has consistently failed to come up with the information. Clearly it would be completely irresponsible of the employer to allow the staff complement of one department to be decimated by the initiative, whilst others remain unaffected. There should at least be an even spread between departments.

The Department of Basic Education has also not, to NAPTOSA’s knowledge, established its own criteria, over and above the general criteria determined by the DPSA, against which applications in education ought to be considered. Some employees in education (e.g. those with scarce skills or specific experience) could therefore be applying, whilst it has never been the intention of the Department to allow them to leave the service. To introduce this only at a late stage in the process would make a mockery of the early retirement initiative.

The DPSA has in the meantime published the application forms on its website (www.dpsa.gov.za) from where it can be downloaded. The application forms should also be obtainable from the relevant education department.

NAPTOSA once again advises members who contemplate applying, to obtain sound financial advice before taking a final decision.