Legal Encounter on "Joining the Pension Fund: Process and Procedures" - Foundation Office Palestinian Territories
In cooperation with the Birzeit University Union of Professors and Employees, the Institute of Law (IoL) organised on 18 October 2012 a legal encountered on Joining the Pension Fund: Process and Procedures. In the context of ongoing negotiations between the Federation of Unions of Palestinian University Professors and Employees on the one hand, and the University Administrations and Palestinian Pension Authority (PPA) on the other, this topic is now particularly significant for professors and employees at Palestinian universities. The legal encounter focuses on mechanisms to subscribe to the public pension fund.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Ahmed Khaled welcomed speaker Mr. Mohammed Abu Rahmah, PPA Branch and Office Manager, and the audience. Having been promoted by Birzeit University Union of Professors and Employees, Mr. Khaled explained that the Federation of Unions of Palestinian University Professors and Employees embraced the idea of joining the public pension fund. Since 2010, the Federation has led negotiations to materialise this goal.
Mrs. Rula Abu Dahu, member on the Birzeit University Union of Professors and Employees, highlighted the significant implementation of pension regulations in any society. Having finalised it, the Union has communicated its vision of subscribing to the public pension fund to the University Administration. The University is currently examining the proposal. Mrs. Abu Dahu expressed her thanks to the IoL for its continuous effort, providing legal insight in various areas. In this context, the IoL has organised a series of legal encounters designed to enhance legal expertise, benefiting the society as well as all interested groups and individuals.
Having thanked the IoL, Mr. Mohammed Abu Rahmah explained that establishment of a Palestinian civil pension authority in line with the Law of Public Retirement No. 7 of 2005 helps create a social security system, which covers all employed and unemployed members of social groups. Subscription to the public pension fund is so significant that it safeguards the future of workers and their dependents. Shedding light on the reality of pension and historical background of the pension authority, Mr. Abu Rahmah cited laws that regulated pension in the West Bank and Gaza Strip before the Palestinian Public Retirement Law had been enacted. Some provisions under these laws are still applicable to a certain category of government employees. However, the variety of pension-related laws has confused PPA’s activity.
In addition to its legal position, Mr. Abu Rahmah explained procedures of appointing the PPA director general and board members. Enjoying financial and administrative independence, the PPA provides pensions to beneficiaries on an equal footing and works towards creating a social security system, which would cover the Palestinian society from across the spectrum. In addition to government employees, the Public Retirement Law includes new categories and prescribes particular mechanisms to join the public pension fund. The Law does not draw a distinction between public and private sector personnel. Two pension systems are in place: a compulsory system with defined benefits and an optional system with defined contributions (the saving fund). Subscription to the public pension fund does not prejudice an employee’s right to benefit from other pension systems.
The Public Retirement Law entered into force on 1 September 2006. In relation to benefits and pension calculation methods, the Law makes clear the retirement age, early retirement age, physical disability, death, resignation, and termination of service. Pension applies to the basic salary, in addition to fixed and periodic increments and cost of living allowance. The Law also provides a mechanism for the purchase of years of service by agencies and institutions, which newly subscribe to the public pension fund.
In the ensuring discussion, interlocutors raised several questions and made interventions, calling for an expedited subscription to the public pension fund. Mr. Jamil Salem, IoL Director, asserted that the IoL will present an integrated legal concept paper on the public pension system to the Birzeit University Union of Professors and Employees.
The encounter was organized in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.