Gov't clears air on NIS payments for short-term contract workers

Down To Brasstacks that discussed the Government’s proposed changes to prevent the depletion of the National Insurance Fund. Jordan, a guest on the programme, was responding to claims made by general secretary of the Unity Workers’ Union Caswell Franklyn who chided the Government for not making NIS payments for several people working across different Government departments including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Franklyn said: “Government knows that if you employ somebody and you pay them more than $21 a week, you must take out national insurance contributions and Government refused to do so.” Jordan said the non-payment of NIS was a serious concern and he was not going to play down the matter. He made clear the matter had been resolved. “Government recognised an issue in terms of some of the short-term hirings. Government has moved to correct those issues. “We did have persons employed in various [areas], what we consider during COVID-19 to be very short term and almost emergency situations because like we’ve always said people have to eat. Now, initially, some of those persons were not included in the National Insurance Scheme. Government has recognised its error and all of those persons have been included now in the national insurance roll and the contributions are paid jointly by the employees and the employer in this case being Government. So that matter has been rectified,” he said. Jordan said two examples of short-term work offered by the Government were the ashfall clean-up programme and the school monitors’ programme. Last Friday, Minister Jordan in a ministerial statement announced measures to stabilise the National Insurance Fund. He outlined that the NIS will be transformed into a commercial state-owned enterprise and that the pensionable age will move from 67 to 67 ½ years in 2028, and then to 68 years in 2034. (sheriabrathwaite@barbadostoday.bb)]]>

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