Civil servants will receive their US$75 monthly Covid-19 risk allowances in US dollars from this month, as will Government pensioners with their US$30 allowances, as the Government uses the dual-currency payment and banking systems introduced successfully towards the end of last year to pay US dollar bonuses.
Government reintroduced the Covid-19 allowance a year ago, but while the allowances were set in US dollars they were paid in local currency equivalent at the prevailing auction rate.
The switch to foreign currency for the allowance is seen as an extra benefit for civil servants and Government pensioners, although technically it is the same value, since it gives them hassle-free and guaranteed access to foreign currency for payments that need this.
Government workers are already benefiting from a host of other non-monetary incentives from the Government including affordable housing schemes.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima yesterday confirmed the latest development.
“It is monthly. We were paying it all along but it was converted at auction rate. Now it is going to be paid monthly in US dollars,” he said.
According to an internal memo written by acting Public Service Commission secretary W Mupandawana addressed to the Salary Service Bureau and Pensions Office, the US currency payment should be effected starting this month.
The memo is referenced, “Implementation of the Covid-19 risk allowance to members of the public service and pensioners with effect from 01 January 2022”.
“Reference is made to the attached Treasury Concurrence dated 23 December 2021. Treasury committed to pay the Covid-19 risk allowance in hard currency of US$75 and US$30 to civil servants and pensioners, respectively.
“Please be advised that this payment should benefit from the banking arrangements used for processing of the 2021 bonus payments. You are requested to effect the above changes effective 01 January 2022,” Mupandawana said.
Secretary general of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, formerly Apex Council, Mr David Dzatsunga yesterday refused to comment on the issue awaiting the formal Government communication saying they only saw the issue circulating on social media.