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JIS News

Employees who suspect that their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions are not being paid over by employers are being encouraged to verify that the deductions are in fact, turned in.
Denzil Thorpe, Director of National Insurance in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, tells JIS News that an acceptable course of action for an employee to pursue, is to request from an employer, proof that the NIS deduction is going to the appropriate place.
“They can actually request from the employer to see the proof, because each month the employer pays the contribution to the Inland Revenue Department, there is a card actually stamped by the Department,” Mr. Thorpe explains.
The Director adds that the card that accompanies the payment states how much the employer is paying as well as the number of employees they are paying for. “The employee can actually ask to see that card on a monthly basis,” he points out.
Detailing another action an employee can take to authenticate that his or her deduction is being paid over, Mr. Thorpe notes that at the end of every year, “the employee has the right to get what is known as a certificate of contributions paid, which basically tells the employee what NIS deduction has been taken from his or her salary, and being paid over to the scheme, so the employee can check based on that”.
For those who fail to receive such a certificate at year’s end, he advises that employees are invited to check the Ministry’s offices to see that the annual returns are being submitted, and that the Ministry has records that the payments are being made.
Where no records exist within the Ministry that the required NIS contributions have been made, the Director says in-house inspectors and compliance officers are dispatched to handle delinquent employers.
In cases where employers are identified for not paying the necessary NIS contributions, the inspector will try to get those employers to comply.
He notes that at the inspectorate level, the inspector does routine visits, where they will check on the employers to make sure that the payments are being made. “Where we do have non-compliant employers, the inspector will try at the local level, to get the employer to comply; if the inspector can’t get through, then the national insurance administrator in the parish or the parish manager will also try,” he tells JIS News.
Mr. Thorpe notes that if inspectors are not able to get employers to come in and sign an agreement to pay the contributions, then it is passed on to the compliance office, which makes attempts to have them pay.
“We really do go to all levels and use moral suasion to get the employer to comply but failing that, the last resort is the court system. We would prepare the summons, have them served, and once they are served, it is strictly in the jurisdiction of the courts,” he points out.
Court action can lead to, on conviction, a fine not exceeding $1,000 in the initial stage, and $500 per day will be charged until the returns are filed. On conviction, employers can also be sent to prison for up to six months.
He notes, however, that the Ministry sees the pursuit of court action as a last resort, and therefore, encourages delinquent employers to visit the Ministry to work out an agreement to pay outstanding contributions.
“For us, it is more than just a business issue, it is also a moral issue, because what we try to get these employers to understand is that if these contributions are not paid over, then these persons, when they reach retirement age, or the age to get some other benefit from the National Insurance Scheme, where the contributions have not been submitted on their behalf, we will not be able to give them a benefit,” Mr. Thorpe emphasises.Persons who are eligible to make NIS contributions are employed individuals, between 18 and 65 years of age for women, and 18 to 70 years for men.
“They are able to have the National Insurance contributions deducted on their behalf and submitted to the National Insurance Scheme and where they are employed, their contributions are matched by the employer,” Mr. Thorpe explains.
For self-employed persons, it is their responsibility to pay their contributions for themselves.