The Democratic Labour Party is concerned that many Barbadians who have found short-term employment and are on Government’s payroll will not be eligible for National Insurance (NIS) benefits. That’s because no NIS contributions are being paid for
Addressing the issue, DLP’s first Vice President Ryan Walters told Today’s BUSINESS he had received a number of complaints from workers who were worried about the lack of a security net.
“The Democratic Labour Party is urging Government to operate by the same standards they want to hold the private sector. Repeated reports coming to us by hurt and disappointed workers are that while they are grateful to be employed, they would have like to benefit from NIS contributions the same way permanent workers benefit.”
Today’s BUSINESS’ investigations revealed that the National Conservation Commission (NCC) has not been paying in NIS for its over 360 employees in the national clean-up programme which was launched in 2019. Reports also indicate that the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs has allegedly followed the trend and is not contributing to NIS for some newer workers in the Home Help Programme.
Similarly, workers who were employed in the ashfall clean-up project who also worked with some of recovery efforts for Hurricane Elsa and those in the Drainage Unit seem also to be experiencing a similar fate.
The DLP spokesperson on business called on Minister Colin Jordan to address the issue and come up with a solution for the workers.
“The Democratic Labour Party is disgusted at this approach to how Government is treating to labour and is calling on the Minister Collin Jordan to quickly address this unfortunate situation,” he said.
Walters stated that Government has a duty of care to all citizens and called for the practice to end immediately since it affected the workers’ chances of getting a pension.
“The reality is that employees are disadvantaged when their employers do not pay in NIS contributions. They are not eligible for sickness benefits or unemployment benefits.
Furthermore, Government is not allowing these individuals to accumulate the much-needed minimum contribution requirements so that they can earn a NIS pension when they reach pensionable age.”
He added: “This in itself has significant backlash for these hardworking citizens, who if this trend continues, will be unable to draw a Government pension or will have to ‘jump through hoops’ to qualify for non-contribution old age pension although they have worked over the years.”
The vice president also took the opportunity to repeat the DLP’s call for full disclosure of the NIS finances. “The DLP also calls on the Government once more, like we did in November of 2020 for an actuarial review of the National Insurance Scheme.
A review that is long overdue, as in accordance with section 34 of the National Insurance and Social Security Act, an actuarial review on the National Insurance Scheme should be conducted every three years.”
“Two actuarial reports are now outstanding and with the reported devastation to the scheme over the last 15 months and the $1.3 billion haircut by the government in the debt restructuring, the public needs to be updated on the state of this important government agency,” Walters said. (IMC)