Taxes and holidays

Launching Leaders

Debra Fraser

Sunday, April 21, 2019

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It's tax time again.

Most employees couldn't care less, being more absorbed with Easter and/or carnival, depending on their degree of affinity to the Christian church. Employers, on the other hand, are taken up with filing annual returns and the declaration of all things revenue — and expenditure-based. It's safe to say this isn't their favourite time of year. However, if as a company they're honouring their statutory obligations, and their accounting and payroll service providers are in tandem, the process can be smooth and relatively stress-free. It's also a useful opportunity to educate team members about how their individual contributions impact on the company and economy, and importantly how they in turn benefit from the mandatory statutory deductions.


Depending on the size and focus of a given organisation, staff salaries may be managed internally or via payroll outsourcing services. Often, companies find the latter more cost-effective and generally more efficient than hiring internally. Either way, since the current generation of gainfully employed individuals are keen on acquiring lifetime assets at a much earlier age than previous ones, it's critical that employers provide them with a sense of security that their monthly tax payments are being submitted to the relevant government agencies in order for them to receive benefits.

They may not be too keen on Education Tax, National Insurance Scheme, or even pension plans because they may seem vague or distant, but they are laser-focused on their National Housing Trust benefits for two reasons — the $6.5-million low-interest loan to which they potentially have access, and the refund they can access providing they are in the formal labour force for a minimum of seven years. The latter can always fill a gap or be an annual self-care treat, but the former is more material, in that it can help teammembers achieve what many consider the biggest of dreams — home ownership. Companies need to be keyed into the fact that those who assist their team members to achive their life goals will always earn their loyalty.


The Easter holidays can seem contradictory for obvious reasons. It's the tail end of Lent — which has religious connotations; such as the time when some try to 'give up' vices to gain renewal. Conversely, it's the carnival season where scantily clad revellers march through public roads or 'get on bad' at themed parties. In fact, this is one of those times where payroll administrators get loan requests for individuals to attend the series of events and to purchase the often-pricey themed costumes.

Whether money management is administered via an HR consulting firm or in-house, it is important for companies to offer money management guidance and facilitate avenues to access loan funds internally or externally in order for team members to feel that they have more to gain from their employers than just their salaries. Indeed, the ability to access 100 per cent financing on a sweet ride, solely on the provision of a job letter and pay slips, means that the reputation of the company is the foundation for accessing funding that would perhaps be otherwise unavailable. It's crucial, therefore, that both employer and employee understand their respective responsibilities and rewards in what is intended to be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Until next time, leaders keep lookin' up!

Debra Fraser, MBA is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to

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