Kenya: Civil Servants Face Allowances Squeeze

New proposals seek to reduce the hefty allowances that civil servants get and narrow salary differences for workers in the same job groups.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission now wants allowances not to constitute more than 40 per cent of the monthly gross pay.

The guidelines were last reviewed in 2015. In some cases, the figure doubles a worker’s monthly pay.

“The SRC will continue to review and consolidate remunerative and facilitative allowances to make the proportion of basic pay to gross salary to be no less than 60 per cent,” reads the document.

“Hidden allowances create inequity and unfavourable pay. So we are basically saying the target is to have 60 per cent of your pay in basic salary and the rest in allowances,” explained SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich.

To ensure the gap between those who earn the lowest and highest salaries is significantly reduced, the SRC proposes “a ratio of at most 1.5 times between the grade minimum and grade maximum salary points.”

Negotiating pay

The proposed guidelines, that will be subjected to public participation, are expected to guide the employers, trade unions, Labour Court, and the commission when negotiating pay for workers to ensure equity and fairness.

If adopted, the remuneration guidelines will see the reduction of the wage bill by approximately Sh100 billion annually.

There are currently over 247 remunerative and facilitative allowances, up from 31 in 1999, payable within the public sector.