Public workers quitting to get full retirement benefits before cuts

JIJI, Kyodo

Some 270 local government employees, including public school teachers, have resigned or plan to quit months before reaching retirement age by the March 31 end of fiscal 2012, due to anticipated cuts in retirement allowances, a Jiji Press survey revealed.

The poll was conducted by telephone for all 47 prefectural governments and 20 major cities for six days through Wednesday.

The nationwide trend first surfaced last month in Saga Prefecture, where dozens of teachers retired by the end of December, three months earlier than scheduled, before the prefectural government cut their retirement allowance on Jan. 1.

In the latest survey, the number of employees who have already quit or plan to do so came to 134 in Saitama Prefecture and 52 in Saga Prefecture.

The internal affairs ministry is urging local governments to reduce retirement allowances as the central government is set to slash these allowances for national public servants under related legislation enforced in January.

To prevent such last-minute resignations, 13 prefectures and 10 cities are considering setting the date of enforcement for their planned ordinances to cut retirement benefits as April 1. In such a case, public employees facing the age limit can avoid cuts in their allowances even if they continue working until March 31.

Meanwhile, 16 prefectures have already set up related ordinances, and 10 of them were enforced on Jan. 1 or at the start of February. Of the six other prefectures, four are set to put their ordinances into force March 1 and two on April 1.

None of the 20 major cities surveyed has so far established such ordinances.