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Heavy tax chews up civil servants’ US$300 salary

Local News
The converted COVID-19 are now being heavily taxed, much to the chagrin of the government employees.

CIVIL servants have bitterly protested over the government’s heavy taxation of their United States dollar salary component, which is leaving them with little US$ disposable income.Government recently converted the civil servants’ US$300 COVID-19 allowances into permanent pensionable salaries and the first batch of workers, including uniformed forces and health workers, received the money last week.

Ever since the COVID-19 allowance was first introduced at US$75 in 2020 and has progressively increased to US$300 over the years, it has been exempted from being taxed. But the converted COVID-19 are now being heavily taxed, much to the chagrin of the government employees.

Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) chairperson, Cecilia Alexander wrote to government last week requesting salary adjustments for the now taxable income.

In the letter seen by NewsDay dated January 19, Alexander writes: “While the ZCPSTU appreciates the noble gesture by the employer to make the US$300 salary, there is, however, an outcry from all public sector employees regarding the new salary structure.

“It is the workers’ experience that the deductions on the US dollar have left them with inadequate disposable income constituting unfair labour practice on the part of the employer.“It is a trite labour principle that an employee’s salary shall not be subject to reduction for any reason. In the light of the above, ZCPSTU expects the employer to restore the workers’ take home pay to more than US$300 without compromising the principle of US dollar as the salary.”

Contacted for comment Public Service Commission chairman, Vincent Hungwe referred all questions to the commission’s secretary Tsitsi Choruma, whose phone was not reachable yesterday.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister July Moyo was also not answering his mobile phone yesterday.Alexander recently applauded the government for turning the allowances into pensionable salaries, but said there was need for continued negotiations for salary improvement in US dollar terms.

The conversion of the COVID-19 allowance to a salary was negotiated through the National Joint Negotiating Council, the umbrella forum for public service discussions on wage and conditions of service.

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