Dechen Dolkar

The Royal Civil Service Commission issued a notification on December 28, 2022 suspending the Early Retirement Scheme (ERS) and stating that those civil servants who have not exited the Civil Service as of December 28 will not be entitled for the scheme.

Civil servants who have applied for the ERS and were approved by the Human Resource Committee (HRC) before the notification on the suspension of ERS are not eligible. Some civil servants, whose application for the ERS were approved before the notification, said that it was unfair.

It was learnt that many civil servants have applied for ERS though the exact figures are not available with the commission. An official said that the records are with individual agencies.

The legal officer of RCSC has written to all agencies that RCSC is in receipt of numerous queries regarding the suspension of the ERS.  His email stated that the notification on suspension of ERS shall come into effect from December 28, 2022. “Therefore, it shall apply to all the civil servants whose ERS request has been approved by the agency but have not yet exited the system.”

One of the civil servants who applied for the ERS said that he applied for ERS on November 28 because of medical grounds and HRC approved the ERS on the same day.

Another civil servant said that now she is not eligible for the ERS because of the notification of suspension of ERS which would come into immediate effect.

A civil servant said that the commission should reconsider those ERS  that were already approved by the HRC meeting at the agency level.

The official from RCSC said that suspension will not affect those civil servants who have  already exited the system on or before December 28.

“This decision came into effect considering the difficult financial situation of the government. Since approval for ERS is a delegated function to the agencies,” the official said.

The ERS was instituted in 2006 for efficacy. However, it was found that the scheme did not serve its intended purpose while adding costs to the government exchequer.

Commission decided to suspend ERS until the commission reviews its policy on ERS and accordingly develops a new scheme that aligns with ongoing civil service reform.