Advertisement
JIS News

Employers who have been delinquent in remitting their contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) on behalf of their employees, are now being targeted by the Scheme in an effort to make them more aware of the importance of paying over the contributions as well as to highlight the consequences of non-compliance.
Representatives of the Scheme met with several such employers at the first in a series of seminars islandwide held at the St. Gabriel’s Anglican Church Hall in May Pen, Clarendon yesterday (February 16).
Speaking at the meeting Senior Legal Officer at the NIS, Carla Anne Harris-Roper emphasized that non-compliant employers could be sued for obstructing the benefits of their employees.
“Under Section 48 of the NIS Act, if having deducted the amount from their employees for NIS contributions, they do not pay over to us at National Insurance and therefore their employees do not receive a benefit, then that employee can take their employer to court and sue them in a civil case,” Mrs. Roper said.
She pointed out that the maximum an employee could receive in such an instance is $260,000 in lieu of the benefit that they would have received had the payment been made.
She also said that if employers failed to file their annual returns, this was considered to be an offence which upon conviction of the employer carried a $1,000 fine for each year that the Annual returns had not been filed, adding that there was an additional fine of $500 for each day of not submitting the returns after having been convicted.
Mrs. Roper noted that once NIS contributions had not been paid by an employer, they are liable to be taken to court to pay the sums owing along with a 20 percent per annum interest payment on all outstanding amounts.
She emphasized that directors of companies were jointly and individually liable for the payment of NIS contributions once it was determined that they were a part of or aware of any arrangement to withhold the payments.
“It is very important for employers to recognise that though we don’t want to criminalise anyone, we have to look at the end of the day when persons become pensionable when they come to us (at NIS) or anyone who comes behind us, that they are not able to get a benefit and that is why we are trying to ensure that the amounts are paid,” she said.
The seminars are to be held over a six-month period and involve presentations on non-compliance, by the National Housing Trust.
Director of the NIS, Denzil Thorpe explained that the Scheme commenced in 1966 to provide a safety net for employees in the event of loss of income due to retirement, injury and death of a breadwinner.