Republic of SeychellesThe Impact of Income Security Universal Benefits in relieving poverty. Marie Josée Bonne
There is no poverty line – this will need to be defined and implemented in order that we can have a benchmark But
Article 22Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 “… everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security …”
Government of Seychelles supports its policy to ensure that its citizens live in basic comfort either by setting up, reviewing, or supporting programmes and projects The schemes covers the estimated population of 81,755 based on the National 2002 Population and Housing Census. Social Security Fund (there remains a need to ensure that safety nets exist to cater for the vulnerable groups in our society) Seychelles Pension Fund
Social Security Fund (SSF) (regulated by the Social Security Act of 1987) • Earnings-Related Benefits - It is financed by employers and employees contribution. • As of 1 January 1995, contributions = 5% of all emoluments paid to an employee or deemed to be employed by an employer. (S31(2) of the Social Security Act 1987)
Seychelles Pension Fund (SPF) (regulated by the Seychelles Pension Fund Act 2005) • The Scheme seeks to ensure a level of social insurance and universal pensions through the provision of basic financial protection for the Seychellois worker and their relatives in situation of retirement, death before retirement and/or disability
Both Funds are mandatory. • Seychelles Pension Fund (compulsory + voluntary element) • Compliance to both schemes is achieved through deduction at source (the 15th day of the following month) • The SPF maintains an updated database on contributors
STRUCTURE OF BENEFITS Social Security Fund (SSF) • Sickness Benefit • Maternity Benefit • Injury Benefit • Invalidity Benefits • Disability Benefit • Survivors Benefit • Funeral Benefit • Retirement Pension • Dependent’s Benefit • Orphan’s Benefit • Abandoned Child’s Benefits
BENEFITS PAID TO WORKERS UNDER THE SSF • Injury benefit (Rs1,350)($251), Maternity benefit (Rs1,350)($251), Invalidity benefit (Rs1,600)($297), Disablement benefit (Rs1,350)($251), Sickness benefit (Rs1,350) ($251) • benefits paid to workers are periodic. Benefit received is often lower than the average salary of an employee. Assessment by the Means Testing Board and meet a number of criteria (medical certificate, household budgets, income of other family members). • A flat rate is paid to qualified applicants, except for retirement benefit which sometimes increase in line with the budget.
STRUCTURE OF BENEFITS The Seychelles Pension Fund (SPF) • Retirement Pension • Invalidity Pension • Surviving Spouse’s Pension • Children’s Pension • Post retirement surviving spouse’s pension and children’s pension • Post retirement death gratuity • Pre-retirement death gratuity • Migration Allowance
ANALYSIS OF PENSION BENEFITS RECEIVED • The minimum guaranteed wage in Seychelles is by law Rs2025($376) for governmental and parastatal organizations and is deemed the same for the private sector. Flat or uniform rate benefit is given solely by the retirement pension, which was last amended to a monthly allowance of Rs1700($316). It is important to note that the retirement allowance has been constantly increased since 1977, averaging a yearly increase of approximately Rs50. The retirement pension is 84% of the minimum Government guaranteed wage.
The pensions payable are at the following rates:- • Salary Band (pm) % Pension • R 800 – 3,500 70% or R2,000 whichever is the greater • R 3,501 – 5,900 65% • R 5,901 – 7,500 60% • R 7,501 and above 40%
“Pockets of poor people”, Peter Sinon, 1996 • Single women-headed households • The hidden poor • The seasonally unemployed – • Groups of retired people living on limited pensions.
DESTITUTION • The Social Security Scheme provide subsistence income for persons unable to work through sickness, unemployment, invalidity or maternity, those of retirement age and all the people of Seychelles in general. • The Seychelles Pension Scheme supplement the pension provided by the Social Security Fund therefore increases the allowance retired persons can live on. • The Home Care Scheme assists senior citizens who cannot perform basic domestic work and require assistance and to the able-bodies seeking part-time employment.
COVERAGE • The number of persons benefiting from the Social Security Fund has decreased from 15,364 in December 2003 to 13,398 persons by December 2005. (reduction in full day URS and beautification now full time) • The number of beneficiaries under the Social security fund fluctuates frequently during the year depending on the number of applicants and those leaving the scheme.
government minimum wage stands at SR2,025. the lowest paid workers on retirement currently enjoy a pension in the range of SR2,100 to SR3,500 per month
The adequacy of social protection programmes must be examined to eliminate such vulnerable sectors of society from the risk of falling into a poverty trap.
It is also a fact that better health care has led to an increase in number of elderly. • This is coupled with the decrease in the number of births hence enlarging the dependency ratio. Population projections undertaken by Dr Michel Rosalie shows that the percentage of the non-working age population decreases and will continue to decrease from 83% in 1979 to 47% in 2019.
WAY FORWARD • …need to carry out a poverty impact analysis of such national programmes and policies as a way of measuring the changing level of the well being of the population and households.