The Parliament of Dominica has approved legislation to amend The Police Pension Act, Chapter 23:81 and The Police Act, Chapter 14:01.
The amendments were approved at the recently concluded Second Meeting of the Fifth Session of the Eighth Parliament.
The bill to amend the Police Act sought to address two issues; to properly legislate the retirement age of police officers which was considered inappropriate in the Police Service Commission Regulations and to provide for payment of bridging pension benefits to police officers in keeping with the decision to extend the retirement age for which nationals will be entitled to pension benefits from the Dominica Social security.
Minister for National Security, Immigration and Labour, Senator Alvin Bernard, stated that bill corrects and removes all concerns regarding legislation provision for the retirement age of police officers.
“The bill rightfully places the provisions for the retirement of police officers within the Police Act, thereby lawfully providing for the retirement of police officers at the age of sixty years,” Minister Bernard stated.
The Act is amended by inserting a new section, 7 A(1) which states; A police officer shall vacate his office when he attains the age of sixty (60) years.
The second element relates to the decision to amend the retirement age for the receipt of pension from the Dominica Social Security and provided the opportunity for police officers to be engaged beyond the age of sixty (60) years.
“Provision is therefore provided in the bill to facilitate the reemployment of police officers after the have attained the age of sixty years. The opportunity for reemployment will be based on recommendations at the administrative level and will be applied solely in cases where critical relevant skills are involved,” Minister Bernard stated.
The amendment to The Police Pension Act provides for the payment of pension to police officers between the age of retirement and the age at which they become entitled to the full pension from the Dominica Social Security under the Social Security Act.
Minister Bernard told Parliament that the 2 amendment simply authorizes the payment of the bridging pensions to police officers up to the time the officer is entitled to Social Security pension.
“The bill introduces the statute, the policy agreed with the public service workers representative including the Police Welfare Association. The amendment has already been effected for public officers and is in keeping with the policy adopted in conjunction with the representative bodies of public officers,” Minister Bernard stated.
The amendment is to section 22 of the Police Pension Act by deleting the words “sixty years” and substituting the words “relevant age”, thereby allowing the application of the amended Social Security Act to allow variation in pension payment to police officers. It also provides for the schedule of pensionable age outlining the staggered application of aged pension in the Police Pension Act.
The Act makes provision for the opportunity for police officers to exercise the option to receive the reduced age benefit under section 29 of the Social Security Act.