Pensioners could soon be legally free to earn extra income and hold on their social security, according to strong hints by the Prime Minister in response to a Barbados Employers Confederation suggestion.
And she has also indicated that public sector workers should be allowed to work on weekends and public holidays when necessary as part of their work week, without having to claim overtime.
Mottley was addressing the annual luncheon of the BEC at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Wednesday, highlighting the need for ongoing transformation of the Barbados economy.
The Prime Minister said: “Are we in a position to be able to have an engagement with older persons recognising that our society is living longer and that part and parcel of that is to able to utilise the experience and expertise in a more effective and efficient way than simply banishing them to retirement?
“It means that as a Government we will have to make changes to the NIS [National Insruance Scheme] framework that right now precludes anybody from doing part-time work that is drawing a pension.”
But the Prime Minister gave no indication when the required amendments to the country’s social security and labour legislation would be considered.
It was on Monday that the BEC’s Marguerite Estwick, in her last speech as president, said the time had come for a national dialogue on legislation that may unintentionally discriminate against retired people.
Calling for reform of labour legislation to discourage ageism, Estwick said sections of the National Insurance and Security Act that prohibit an NIS pensioner from earning an income should be updated in order to reflect “modern concepts” that encourage national participation and independence.
She also suggested that pensioners could get involved in entrepreneurial activities.
During her speech at the BEC’s function on Wednesday, Mottley also questioned if the country was in need of a conversation on the need for flexi-time and if services should not be delivered “without overtime being the core cost”.
“You cannot have persons collecting garbage only Monday to Friday without there being a public health risk on Saturday and Sunday, and should Government have to carry the additional cost of overtime all Saturday and Sunday simply because we want to be the best that we can be and making the environment the cleanest that it can be.”
With four public holidays falling between April 26 and May 1, residents across a number of communities were made to put up with a pile-up of garbage.
This was mainly due to Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) workers refusing to work on weekend because there is no provision for overtime pay. (MM)