JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Thursday 25 April 2013
Last update 26 April 2013 2:31 pm
The pension of a Saudi woman married to a foreigner may soon be paid to the couple's children, according to an official from the Public Pension Agency (PPA).
Fatima bint Mohammed Ali, director of the women’s department at the PPA, said she was confident that the Bureau of Experts at the Council of Ministers would approve changes to retirement legislation that would make this possible.
The PPA has proposed three main changes to the law, backed by the Shoura Council. This includes children becoming the beneficiaries of the pension of their Saudi mother married to their foreign father; for children to benefit from the pensions of both their Saudi parents; and for three or more beneficiaries to receive the full pension of their parents.
In a statement released at a seminar organized by King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah yesterday, Al-Ali denied that the Shoura Council has proposed an earlier retirement age for Saudi women. She said there is a proposal to raise the retirement age for women to 65, backed by the PPA and the Bureau of Experts.
She also pointed out that Saudi women married to citizens of Arab Gulf states, or living in one of these states, would fall under the protection of the Saudi pension system, according to the Gulf Cooperation Council resolution on insurance and pension systems.
Al-Ali said the PPA is the only body that provides pensions for all government sector employees, military and civilian. It provides a social safety net for citizens. In the event of the main member's death, the beneficiaries include husband or wife, sons, daughters and grandparents.
Al-Ali confirmed that the system allows a wife to benefit from her first husband's pension, provided she had either divorced her second husband or been widowed.
Daughters, divorced or widowed, would be paid their deceased father’s pension. In addition, daughters would receive their father's pension as long as they do not marry or get a steady government job. However, if their salaries are less than their parent’s retirement pension, the institution would have to pay the difference.
She said that women are entitled to combine their years of service in the private sector with their years of work in the government sector to calculate retirement benefits, even if they took bonuses for service while working for a private firm. Al-Ali also criticized the pension sector for failing to educate employees about the retirement system in the Kingdom.