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Govt to go after employers not paying NIS

Delinquent employers have been put on notice that their days of not paying contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) on behalf of their workers, are numbered.

Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer has taken to Cabinet a proposal aimed at giving the statutory body more power to collect these outstanding contributions.

She told reporters it was important that contributions were paid in to the fund, noting that NIS faced a big problem with collecting arrears.

She explained that her ministry, which has responsibility for the NIS, was seeking to put special arrangements in place to address the problem and improve the situation.

Dr Esther Byer

Dr Esther Byer

“We have actually carried to Cabinet a proposal for improving the collection of arrears and other things that have to be put in place,” Dr Byer said.

“We have tightened some legislation as well for National Insurance and we are looking at the discussions as we have had in Geneva this year, that of formalizing our economy which has a lot of facets to it.”

She explained that by ensuring that more people in the informal sector were formalized, there would be an increased overall contribution to NIS and government revenue through taxes.

“This is very important now that we are phasing out the non-contributory pension. Before a lot of persons in the informal economy . . . wouldn’t pay National Insurance (but) could apply for a non-contributory pension. They can’t do that anymore so they need to realize that they have to contribute now so when they reach to that stage, there would be something there for them as well,” the Labour Minister explained.

She said the proposed legislation would empower the relevant units within the NIS to be able to get the information they needed regarding employers who were guilty of not paying their contributions and “go after” them.

“This legislation is now in draft. It has to be debated in parliament . . . but it [will give] them more power to be able to examine the relevant documents to get the contributions, because we have a big problem with employers who deduct money from their workers’ salaries,” she said, adding:

“The workers work very often naively trusting that this money has been paid and then when they are sick and when they are terminated, they go to the National Insurance and they are looking for money and no contributions are there.

She went on: “National Insurance policy has been to give the worker the benefit that they would be expecting and then pursue the employer and very often they can’t. . . . That is a leak that we have to plug, so that is the legislation we are looking at now to speak to things like that.”

Dr Byer said the idea was to have, ultimately, a sharing of information between NIS and the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA).

The minister said the NIS pension fund was also being affected by the fact that the Barbados population was simultaneously aging and dwindling because people were having fewer children.

She said as a result, the retirement age had to be gradually extended to avoid “the risk of not having enough contributions to meet the payments” in the coming years.

11 Responses to CRACKDOWN

  1. Tony Webster July 1, 2015 at 5:43 am

    It’s called management 101, M’am. Housewives- like my mum- did it with grace and panache- for all seven of us, on one salary- my dad’s.. She never had a secondary education, let alone a tertiary one…but I yet have a precious little prize-book which she gained- nicely inscribed by her head-teacher- as being top student at her school, c.1930.

    BTW, no need to mention anything about those those folks in Geneva…I do not need them to tell me that we’ve been doing a poor job here at “National Management 101”, and that a female version of “Rip Van Winkle”…has finally awakened.

    Now for the hard part: implementation. Good luck, as it’s about time a friend of yours stopped dipping into cookie-jars, both at at Church Village, and at Lower Collymore Rock. May I venture to suggest, that rather than reaching for a bigger (legislative) hammer, you use instead “soft power”…and market your message more effectively , both to un-registered self-employed citizens, and to have your staff charged with collecting arrears of NIS deductions, to actually get off their comfortable chairs, and go have a face-to-face chat with the Managing Directors / owners of tardy businesses. In 37 years of banking, I’ve found that having a personal relationship…is so much mutually better than using a hammer. Hammers are best used for “display”…and NOT for clogging-up the statute-books of Barbados, or for hammering.

  2. harry turnover July 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Didn’t I read somewhere that some Government Institutions were also collecting and not paying them in ??

  3. Patrick Blackman July 1, 2015 at 9:35 am

    It would be interesting if the minister could provide some kind of breakdown in terms of the economic sectors in this regard. When employers start dipping into trust funds we have a major problem.
    Similarly the BRA could also provide the same level of breakdown for their debt load.

  4. seagul July 1, 2015 at 9:58 am

    …. Freedom in the Caribbean is the freedom to be taken advantage of by government-supported plantation type hotels and big business, the freedom to be jobless and destitute, and un-represented by the corporate called politicians. A Freedom ruled by laws that are cobwebs for the rich and chains of steel for the poor.

  5. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce July 1, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Crackdown? When, where, why and how? This nonsense have been going on so long like a life sore.

  6. Winston Arthur Trechane July 1, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    The Bottom Line, the entire financial circuit of PUBLIC PENSIONS is founded on CORRUPTION.
    The Middle Passage, we have bla-bla-blaed and Government will bla-bla-bla.
    The Top Line, not once the C word was spoken by the mouth piecing falsity about administrative incompetence and the bloodsucking of the “ephemeral” population.

  7. Greitcha Smith
    Greitcha Smith July 1, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I agree. Make those who owe pay up. That doesn’t stop you from paying the benefits to those who have paid up their NIS.

  8. Angus B Post
    Angus B Post July 1, 2015 at 5:40 pm


  9. Caswell Franklyn July 1, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    I will believe that the Minister and her Government are serious when they go after the Barbados Workers’ Union for deducting contributions from a workers’s wages, for two years, and not paying it into NIS.

    I reported to the the Director of NIS that the BWU deducted contributions from the wages of a former employee (Christopher Jordan, and did not pay in one cent in two years.

    I gave copies of that information, which included photo copies, to the Barbados Today and the Nation months ago and I am yet to see that story in print

  10. Sandra basc July 1, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Mine is paid in every month on time and I still cannot get my sickness benefit from since January.

    Maybe the Minister should look into that. A coin has 2 sides. You want to be paid, you should also pay who you owe.

    While we are talking about owing Government. June 30 has gone and I have not received my 2013 tax refund. Promises, Promises Government.

  11. jrsmith July 2, 2015 at 10:34 am

    For us the people of Barbados get anything done, and any satisfaction ,for our votes cast. we need one piece of political reform and that is, to have the right ,to remove members of parliament from office, by vote of no confidence.

    Bajans wake up ,lets stop this crap allowing politicians, getting paid as looser, this is not only an issue in Barbados ,but its an echo from around the world.

    Here we are in little Barbados, case ,after case, after case, failure , failure , by persons we vote for. we must send the signal we are not going to tolerate any more of this crap.

    People in Barbados must , stop only voting because of party politics , seeing where its taken us. its becoming on this island , where do I turn, who do I turn to, not even out trade unions politicians have any respect for, they think they are premadonas.



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