windfall for teachers

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Teachers across the country will be smiling all the way to the bank this month when they receive their backdated occupational specific dispensation (OSD) payments.

But unions fear that the taxman will take a substantial cut if payment is not made separately from their salaries.

The implementation of OSD will put a sizeable amount into the pockets of teachers who, for the first time, will have their salaries adjusted in line with their experience, qualifications and daily performance in the classroom.

A total of 385000 teachers nationally will get an increment averaging 6,2 percent, while more than 20 percent will get a translation increase of more than 10 percent backdated to January 1 2008.

The OSD adjustments were supposed to have been implemented in January but the process was delayed because some of the teacher unions were unhappy with certain amendments in the agreement.

The unions say the Department of Education has confirmed that the adjustments will be done and paid this month, but they are worried that the taxman will get most of the money and teachers will be left with peanuts.

KwaZulu-Natal Sadtu spokesman Sipho Nkosi said they were praying for the money to be paid separately from salaries.

'The adjustments that will happen this month will see a major gross salary increase because the payments will be backdated to January this year," Nkosi said.

"If it is paid together with salaries the tax deduction will be too big."

Allen Thompson of the National Teachers Union said his union has already proposed that the OSD payments and annual increment be done and paid separately, so that teachers can see if they were paid a percentage that they deserve.

Education Department spokesman Lunga Nqengelele was not available for comment.