The National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which falls under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), will be embarking on a public sensitisation programme to promote the scheme as a suitable savings plan and not a tax.
Acting Director of the NIS, Portia Magnus, said that the initiative will include conducting workshops, using word of mouth, and producing and disseminating brochures to educate the public on the wide range of benefits available.
The benefits, she said, include maternity allowance; retirement, invalidity, special child, orphan, and employment injury benefits; funeral grant; health insurance plan; and widower’s/widow’s pension.
“We are mandated to promote a culture of saving among the Jamaican people, especially the non-contributors, who are of the impression that the NIS is a tax, or just a pension plan,” Ms. Magnus said.
She told JIS News that special focus will be placed on workers at the grassroots level, such as hairdressers, barbers, and dressmakers and construction workers. She said the aim is to get these persons to understand the importance of contributing to the NIS from an early stage, in order to reap future benefits.
Ms. Magnus said the hope is that the strategy will increase the number of contributors, and will enable the scheme to grow from strength to strength.
“We are aiming to increase the number of contributors from 32 per cent to 40 per cent within the next three years, so by targeting different categories of workers, and implementing innovative strategies, we believe this can be achieved,” she said.
Ms. Magnus argued that considering the many benefits available, it is in the best interest of Jamaicans to ensure that the scheme endures, so that future generations can benefit.
The team from the NIS will also be visiting schools and promoting its recently created jingle and tagline: ‘Always Working for You’.
For more information on the NIS, persons can contact the Ministry’s Head Office at 876-922-8000-9, or visit the various parish offices islandwide.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS PRO