The Social Security Commission (SSC) has announced an increase in its member benefits under the maternity, sick leave and death benefits fund.
At a media briefing yesterday Johannes !Gawaxab, who is the SSC board chairperson, said the maternity leave benefit increased by 24 percent from N$10 500 to N$13 000 for a maximum of 12 weeks.
The sick leave benefit also increased by 24 percent from N$7 875 to a maximum of N$9 750 for the first 12 months.
“These benefits are enhanced effective from 1 January 2016 without increase in member/employer contributions,” said !Gawaxab.
The death benefit increased by 54 percent from N$5 515 to N$8 475, said !Gawaxab. A single lump of N$8 475 will be paid upon retirement and permanent disability.
!Gawaxab explained that this benefit would help many people, especially those with financial burdens and who depend only on this benefit, to give their loved ones a dignified funeral.
Furthermore, he said that SSC paid out N$157.4 million for maternity benefits at the end of February 2016, “which we expect to increase to about N$180.3 million by the end of February 2017”.
The total amount paid out in sick leave benefits at the end of February this year was N$19.9 million.
“We expect that this amount will increase to N$23.8 million at the end of February 2017, which translates to an increase of 19.6 percent. The total amount paid out under the death, disability and retirement benefits was N$23.7 million at the end of February this year.”
“It is expected that this amount will increase to N$33.3 million at the end of February 2017 which is an increase of 40.5 percent,” explained !Gawaxab.
Last year, the maternity, sick leave and death benefits fund’s liability was N$54.4 million while the payment for the same was N$189.3 million in the same year. !Gawaxab explained that the maternity, sick leave and death benefits fund’s loss ratio is below the target level of 95 percent and 98 percent. “It is 86 percent,” he added.
“This coupled with significant free reserves means benefit enhancements can be afforded. The maternity, sick leave and death benefits fund is in a financially sound position,” remarked !Gawaxab.
Meanwhile, he also announced that the SSC will be constructing maternity shelters in Outapi, Katima Mulilo, Rundu and Ausenkehr at an estimated cost of N$40 million. This includes delivery beds worth N$3 million, he said.
“Currently many of our pregnant mothers are squatting under trees to be close to hospitals when they go into labour,” said !Gawaxab. He added that it is an unpleasant scenario to see them endure harsh weather conditions.