Trouble brews at SJGH over retirement age, AG consulted

By Lal Gunasekera

A controversy is now brewing at the Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital, among the Consultants and Senior Staff Members (Hospital Director, Assistant Director, Board Secretary and Accountant), over their retirement age.

After a surprise Cabinet decision of the then UNP government, the SJGH Board decided in 1986 to retire the aforesaid categories of workers at 65 years and all others at 60.

Letters of appointment to this effect were also issued.

A sources of the SJGH told The Island that nowhere had it been stated in the SJGH Act No 54 of 1983 that the retirement age of Consultants and all other Administrative Staff was 65 years.

The Public Enterprises Circular No. 52 of 25th November 2008 of the Department of Public Enterprises (General Treasury) pertaining to the retirement age of employees of public enterprises states: "Except for enterprises where the retirement age for employees is decided in terms of an Act in Parliament, the optional retirement age of employees of public enterprises shall be 55 years, where service of employees over 55 years are to be obtained, the board of management of such public enterprises, may extend their services till they reach 57 years with the consent of the concerned employees, having taken into regard their service record, conduct, attendance, efficiency and health condition. The service of employees may be extended further up to 60 years by the board of management under exceptional circumstances where the board is of the view that the services of such employees is essential for the proper functioning of the agency."

The government, according to the Minister of Public Administration John Seneviratne, decided that State sector employees (including security forces personnel) would not be permitted to work beyond 60 years after 31st December this year (2010)

A Board Paper was presented by three government appointed directors (Mahinda Samarasekera, Dr. Harsha Samaraweera and Kiran Atapattu) to the SJGH board on October 15 to fix the retirement age at 60 years. But due to objections by certain individuals the Board Paper was referred to the Attorney-General for clarification.

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