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Jamaica Tourism Workers’ Pension Act now in Effect

Tourism Workers’ Pension Act now in Effect
Tourism Minister, Hon Edmund Bartlett (right) provides an update on the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme at a press briefing hosted at the Ministry of Tourism on February 03, 2020. Sharing in the moment is Chairman of the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme’s Board of Trustees, Retired banking and insurance executive, Richard Powell.
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Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett says the appointed date on which the Tourism Workers’ Pension Act came into operation was January 31, 2020, with registration for the scheme to begin soon.

Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Tourism’s New Kingston offices earlier today, the Tourism Minister said, “This gazetted date sets the stage for the Board of Trustees to conclude the arrangements with the fund manager and the fund administrator.

The framework for the development of regulations is now underway and I am hoping to take this to Parliament tomorrow, but if not, certainly within the first few sittings within the new parliamentary year. ”

The long-awaited Tourism Workers’ Pensions scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.  This includes 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.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme will receive $1 billion in funding from the Ministry of Tourism, to augment the pool of funds. The Augmented Pension Beneficiaries will be persons who joined the Scheme at 59 years old. With the Ministry’s injection of funds, these persons will qualify for a minimum pension.

He added that, “The regulations will allow for 180 days period for the Augmented Pensions Beneficiaries. After we have designated that, those people will have the opportunity to register. Once they have registered, they will be on and the programme begins with earnest with the ordinary members.”

The pension scheme will see persons contributing an initial 3% of their income for the first three years and then 5% after that – this contribution is then matched by the employer. However, employees have the option of giving up to 15% of their salaries over time.

As part of the Ministry’s awareness efforts, Tourism Workers Pension Sensitizations Sessions will continue this week for The Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa, Sangster International Airport, Secrets Montego Bay and Excellence Oyster Bay and Portland on February 27.

The distribution of the fund will be done in tranches, with the first disbursement taking place within this financial year (before the end of March 2020). A formal presentation will be made at a later date.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.