The new effective date for revised contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is August 2, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, has confirmed.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (June 30) Post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Mr. Vaz explained that the May 31 date previously approved by Cabinet was impractical, given the consultative and legislative processes.
The Minister said that Cabinet has approved the increase in the NIS insurable wage ceiling from $500,000 to $1 million per annum, and the increase in the NIS flat rate contribution from $20 per week to $50 per week, effective August 2.
The proposal to have Members of Parliament and Jamaica Defence Force soldiers contribute to the scheme by way of payroll deductions up to the insurable wage ceiling with effect from August 2, has also been approved by Cabinet.
Increases ranging from 11 per cent to 33.5 per cent are due to beneficiaries under the NIS, including for maternity allowance, employment injury, disablement and death benefits, funeral grants, old age grants, invalidity grants, widows and orphans grants.
Benefits under the NI Gold programme, such as payments for prescription drugs, diagnostic procedures, dental and optical services are also to be increased by between 25 per cent and 50 per cent, while pensioners are to receive a 20 per cent increase.
Cabinet has also approved the validation and indemnification of the actions of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, with regard to the payment of three-fourths rate of pensions, effective April 7, 2008, as well as with regard to the expansion of the categories of Special Pensioners and the provision of Funeral Grants to Special Pensioners, effective from April 1, 2008.
“Based on that approval, payments with regard to Special Pensioners and the three-fourths rate of pension were implemented at the relevant dates. However, the necessary legislative changes were not made and, as such, validation and indemnification provisions are required,” Mr. Vaz explained.