For the internationally acceptable allowances, Kenya has some of the most handsome perks for its top civil servants.
While junior civil servants only take home about Sh3,000 per month as house allowance, senior employees earn in excess of Sh150,000 per month, beating many of their colleagues in the private sector.
Employees of the Parliamentary Service Group were the highest earners, followed by state corporations and the judicial service, the report by Deloitte noted. Teachers, meanwhile, earn the lowest amount of allowances.
While the cream of these allowances is enjoyed by the top civil servants, a number of them are spread across all job cadres and are the driver of the government’s wage bill crisis, currently at Sh730 billion.
Kenya spends one in every two shillings it collects in taxes to pay its public employees.
The SRC says it will deal with the allowance headache in two phases: by first reviewing four allowances — namely house allowance, hardship allowance, leave allowance, and subsistence allowance — and then updating the list of grants and engaging stakeholders before final implementation of the recommendations.
To put the crisis into perspective, the Nation studied a report by audit firm Deloitte that formed the basis of the end-term report by the previous commission, and which showed how important — or painful, depending on whose side one is — allowances have become within the civil service.
For instance, one cadre whose average basic pay was Sh32,367 ended up getting a mean gross salary of Sh158,487 after allowances.
That means employees earned Sh126,120, or 80 per cent of their total monthly pay in allowances.
A summary of all employees across job groups showed that on average, between 65 per cent and 85 per cent of their take-home was just allowances.