“We reviewed the performance within the first month of the implementation of the pension Scheme, and I am proud to announce that so far approximately 10,000 workers have registered, by way of application, for membership in the scheme,” said Bartlett.
“The most crucial part of all this is that in addition to the outstanding work that Guardian Life, which administers the Scheme, has been doing in recruiting persons, is the excellent work that Sagicor is doing in terms of building the Fund, and we are pleased to announce that $43 million has been earned by the fund since we placed it in their management,” he added.
The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and requires mandatory contributions by workers and employers.
It is designed to cover all workers ages 18–59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed. This includes hotel workers and people 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 or older.
The Government of Jamaica has committed J$1 billion to seed the Scheme.
By doing so, immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners. Sagicor Life Jamaica manages the Fund and Guardian Life Ltd is the administrator.
The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is arguably the most significant human capital development initiative in the history of Jamaica’s tourism sector. It will allow thousands of tourism workers to look forward to a financially secure retirement and is expected to benefit some 350,000 employees in the tourism sector immediately.
A vital feature of this pension scheme is that it allows workers to move around within the industry, taking their benefits without being penalized or losing any of their contributions.
“We are excited that the scheme has started on a very good note and that the response from the workers has been good. We want to urge more tourism workers to support this important initiative. Please get onboard and register for the Scheme so that we can meet the target of getting 350,000 workers, employers, self-employed people, and any other group connected to the sector to enroll,” Minister Bartlett expressed.
“I commend the companies that are already involved in the Scheme, and I encourage the other employers to get onboard as well. This Scheme makes a statement about a government that truly cares for the people of the country,” said the Minister.