JIS News

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  • Registration for the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is expected to begin shortly.
  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that arrangements are being finalised to start the process.
  • More than 350,000 employees are expected to benefit immediately from the pension scheme, which became effective on January 31, 2020.

Registration for the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is expected to begin shortly.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that arrangements are being finalised to start the process.

More than 350,000 employees are expected to benefit immediately from the pension scheme, which became effective on January 31, 2020.

“This sets the stage now for the Board of Trustees to proceed to conclude arrangements with the fund manager and administrator,” Minister Bartlett said.

He was addressing a press conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Monday (February 3).

He further noted that the framework will now be established for the accompanying Regulations for the Tourism Workers’ Pension Act, “which I am hoping to take to Parliament tomorrow (February 4)… but if not, certainly within the first few sittings of the new Parliamentary year”.

Mr. Bartlett informed that the scheme is going to be the largest pension plan in the Caribbean, and could potentially impact up to 500,000 workers by 2030/2035 as the industry continues to grow.

“There is a big value to this beyond the social security safety net that it affords for the workers of this industry. It creates a pool of funds that are available now for investment – funds generated by the savings of the people of Jamaica,” he noted.

Mr. Bartlett further informed that sensitisation sessions will continue this week with hotels and attractions and all the affiliate groups in the industry.

“We will be working with the Human Resource (HR) departments to start the process of registering preliminarily until the prescribed form is completed pursuant to regulations being approved by Parliament,” he said.

In the meantime, Chairperson of the scheme’s Board of Trustees, Richard Powell, said it is a signal initiative “from the pensions industry standpoint, but [also] in terms of the wider social ramifications, and I am very pleased and honoured to be associated with it”.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is in keeping with the Government’s focus on creating a social security network within the sector.

It is one component of a three-pronged human capital development plan for industry workers, which includes training and capacity-building.

The pension scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers.

It will cover all workers in the tourism sector, from age 18 to 59 years, whether permanent, contractual or self-employed. These include hotel workers, as well as persons employed in related industries, such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.

Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The Ministry of Tourism is providing $1 billion to seed the fund, so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners, who have met the vested period of five years.