ASSISTANT Labour Commissioner in the Ministry of Labour Musonda Ulaya has told the Lusaka High Court that the State does not dispute that the public service retirement age regulations apply exclusively to the public service of which Konkola Copper Mines is not a part.
This is in a case in which Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) dragged the State to court seeking an interpretation of whether the amendment of the retirement age from 55 to 60 years by the National Pensions Scheme Amendment Act no.7 of 2015 and the Public Service Retirement Act is applicable to every corporate or employing company in Zambia.
In his affidavit in opposition of originating summons filed in the Lusaka High Court, Mr Ulaya submitted that the National Pension Scheme Act covers every contributing employer which includes KCM as well as every employee of such an employer.
He further submitted that the National Pension Scheme Act is the principal legislation that provided for mandatory retirement for the entire private sector and the public sector not covered by the Public Service Pensions Act with the options available to an employee.
And KCM’s head of corporate affairs Akakandelwa Mubiana argued that the mining conglomerate wanted an interpretation because there was no legislation in Zambia which directly provided for a mandatory retirement age which must be followed by all employing entities or occupational pension funds.
Mr Mubiana submitted that if the answer was in the affirmative, KCM demanded for a determination of the effective date of the revised retirement age in view of the principle of non-retrospective application of amendments to legislation.
Mr Mubiana contended that pursuant to the KCM Pension Fund Rules under clause 1.16, retirement age was the end of the month in which a member attained the age of 55 and that the two Acts do not provide for any mandatory application of 60 years on all employing entities or occupational pension funds.
He further contended that neither the National Pensions Scheme Amendment Act no.7 of 2015 nor the Public Service Retirement Act could be used to enforce a mandatory application of 60 years on all employing entities or occupational pension funds.
Mr Mubiana submitted that in 2014 the State amended regulation 4 of the public service retirement age to change the retirement age in the public service from 55 to 60 years for members who contributed to the National Pensions Scheme Fund.
He added that the amendment came into force on August 14, 2015, which reserved the right of the employees who were members of the scheme before the coming into force of the amended law to choose whether they wished to be bound by the new law or still be bound by the old law.