The functions of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in Kenya are very important. It is an independent commission established under Article 230 of the Constitution and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act.
Prior to establishment of Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), remuneration and benefits payable to public officers were set through ad hoc Committees.
Owing to the limited mandate of the foregoing Commissions and Committees, they only addressed remuneration and benefits in selected sectors and subsectors of the Public Service.
The absence of a holistic approach led to substantial differences in salaries, allowances, other benefits and grading resulted in discontentment, low morale and inefficiencies in the Public Service.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission came to existence to address these shortcomings.
On its website, the Commission describes itself as follows.
“The Commission was established when the fiscal sustainability of the wage bill; attraction and retention of requisite skills to execute public service functions; productivity and performance; and transparency and fairness in remuneration setting and review, is seriously in question.”
“It came at a time when the slow growth of the economy and the high cost of living has eroded the purchasing power of most workers. The Salaries and Remuneration Commission was established with a view to bringing order and sanity in salary setting.”
Article 230(4) of the Kenyan Constitution says the powers and functions of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) should be-
- to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers; and
- to advise the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers.
For the definition of terms “state officer” and “public officer”, refer to the article entitled the difference between a public and state officer.
Section 11 of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act stipulates these additional functions:
- inquire into and advise on the salaries and remuneration to be paid out of public funds;
- keep under review all matters relating to the salaries and remuneration of public officers;
- advise the national and county governments on the harmonisation, equity and fairness of remuneration for the attraction and retention of requisite skills in the public sector;
- conduct comparative surveys on the labour markets and trends in remuneration to determine the monetary worth of the jobs of public offices;
- determine the cycle of salaries and remuneration review upon which Parliament may allocate adequate funds for implementation;
- make recommendations on matters relating to the salary and remuneration of a particular State or public officer;
- make recommendations on the review of pensions payable to holders of public offices; and
- perform such other functions as may be provided for by the Constitution or any other written law.
Apart from the functions of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, it should have powers to—
- gather, by any means appropriate, any information it considers relevant, including requisition of reports, records, documents or any information from any source, including governmental authorities;
- interview any individual, group or members of organizations or institutions and, at the Commission’s discretion, conduct such interviews;
- hold inquiries for the purposes of performing its functions under the SRC Act;
- take any measures it considers necessary to ensure that in the harmonization of salaries and remuneration, equity and fairness is achieved in the public sector.
In the performance of its functions, the Commission—
- may inform itself in such manner as it thinks fit;
- may receive written or oral statements from any person,
- governmental or non-governmental agency; and
- should not be bound by the strict rules of evidence.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission consists of the following persons appointed by the President-
- a chairperson
- one person each nominated by the following bodies from among persons who are not members or employees of those bodies-
- one person, each nominated by-
- an umbrella body representing trade unions;
- an umbrella body representing employers; and
- a joint forum of professional bodies represented by the Association of Professional Societies of East Africa;
- one person, each nominated by-
- one person who has experience in the management of human resources in the public service, nominated by the Cabinet Secretary responsible for public service.
The Commissioners nominated by Cabinet Secretary for Finance, the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary for public service have no vote.
The chairperson and members other than the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Attorney General should serve on a full-time basis for a non-renewable term of six years.
For more about the functions of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Commission in general, see the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act or visit their website at src.go.ke.