Govt won’t amend laws to extend retirement age to 65


By Saman Indrajith

The government had no intention of amending laws to extend the retirement age to 65 years as it would be detrimental to the youth who remain unemployed at least for five more years after completing their education, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne said in parliament yesterday.

 Responding to a request made by UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake, the minister said the extension of compulsory retirement age would prevent the youth from gaining employment.

 MP Karunanayake moving a Private Members’ Motion requested that the compulsory retirement age be extended. His motion read: "That this Parliament resolves that the Government officers’ retirement age must be extended up to 65 years, and for those who have special aptitude it can be extended up to 70 years, if the legislature recommends."

 The minister said the retirement age was 55, but if any particular official wanted to continue work further he or she could go on till 57 years. The limit could be extended up to 60 years subsequently, if the official concerned applied for an extension in service and his or her head of the institution approved it. That had been decided by the Cabinet of ministers and announced through the Public Service Commission Circular No 02/2012.

Minister Seneviratne said: "I would like to draw the attention of the UNP MP to the fact that my ministry alone has recruited more than 65,000 for the posts of development officer, management assistant, Grama Niladhari, Technical officer, Administrative Service Officer during the last two years. The total number of persons recruited to the public sector during the same period is around 100,000. This shows the incumbent government is strengthening the public service.

"It is so ironical that the UNP has, all of a sudden, become so concerned about the public service. The country knows how the UNP treated public sector workers when it was in power. Not a single new worker was recruited to the government sector during the last UNP regime. Thus, we should be concerned whether MP Karunanayake’s proposal for extending the compulsory retirement age is aimed at delaying the employment of youth in the public sector."

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