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    • Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says payments will begin shortly under the Supporting Employees with the Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) component of the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.
    • “The Auditor General is currently reviewing the list of payees to confirm compliance with the defined eligibility rules, and the expectation is that payments will be authorised this week,” Dr. Clarke said.
    • He was giving an update on the CARE programme in the House of Representatives on May 12.

    Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, says payments will begin shortly under the Supporting Employees with the Transfer of Cash (SET Cash) component of the Government’s COVID Allocation of Resources for Employees (CARE) Programme.

    “The Auditor General is currently reviewing the list of payees to confirm compliance with the defined eligibility rules, and the expectation is that payments will be authorised this week,” Dr. Clarke said.

    He was giving an update on the CARE programme in the House of Representatives on May 12.

    The SET Cash grant is for persons who were terminated after March 10 and whose income is $1.5 million or less.

    “Processing is automatic and computer generated. I would like to take this opportunity to remind employers to upload P45 forms for their employees. If employers put the termination date prior to March 10 the system will automatically deem the application ineligible,” Dr. Clarke said.

    “The $1.5-million threshold exists as the vast majority of affected employees in the tourism and other sectors have income at or below this threshold and we are targeting the intervention to the majority who are most vulnerable,” he added.

    The Minister said that the $1.5 million is assessed on gross income, which is calculated before gratuities.

    “If the employer adds this [gratuity] to gross income and the amount exceeds the threshold, the application will be deemed ineligible. There is a separate space on the P45 to record gratuities,” Dr. Clarke pointed out.

    He noted that persons who earn above $1.5 million and are on the tax register, may have an opportunity for an unemployment refund, as they would have paid taxes in January, February and maybe March, with the expectation of earning above the income tax threshold this year, but at the time of being laid off would not have passed the threshold.

    He advised persons within this category to contact Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), noting that more information will be forthcoming on this option.

    Dr. Clarke informed that the system would first process those laid off in March prior to processing those laid off in April.

    Payments will first be made for persons laid off between March 10 and March 31, 2020 and then another round of payments will be for persons laid off between April 1 and April 30, 2020.

    Meanwhile, applicants whose employers have submitted Business Employee Support and Transfer of Cash (BEST Cash) applications on their behalf are not eligible for SET Cash Grants, as the Government will be transferring cash to these employers, which they will remit to their employees.

    Eligibility verification for BEST Cash applications for the period March 10 to 31, 2020 will commence shortly, with payments to follow thereafter.

    The BEST Cash Programme will provide temporary cash transfers to registered businesses operating within the tourism industry who are registered with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) based on the number of workers they keep employed who are at or under the income tax threshold of $1.5 million per annum.

    Businesses that apply and qualify will receive $9,000 per fortnight for each employee retained on their payroll who has taxable income less than or equal to $1.5 million, as confirmed by TAJ.

    Payments will be made monthly for the months of April, May and June 2020 directly to the business’ bank account.

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