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Bartlett emphasises significance of tourism pension scheme

Saturday, August 17, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica —Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, says the pension scheme for tourism workers is a commitment by the Government to make sure there is social security and protection for workers in the sector.

The pension scheme, which is expected to come into effect early next year, is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation, and will require mandatory contribution by workers and employers.

The scheme will cover all workers from 18 to 65 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The move is to ensure that we create that social security arrangement so that on retirement, the tourism worker from whatever category can be assured of a minimum pension,” the minister said.

Bartlett pointed out that the scheme will embrace everyone in the sector, such as the red cap porters, craft traders and workers in accommodations, attractions, tour operation/transportation and watersports.

“We see too many workers who have toiled for years, some forty years, some fifty years, and after they have left, they are in penury situations, so this move is to ensure that there is a social security net within the sector,” he said.

An important feature of the scheme, he added, is that a worker can become a member at age 59 and still be entitled to a pension similar to people who would have been there from the initial stage.

“This feature is possible because the Government decided to put $1 billion from the Tourism Enhancement Fund into the scheme to seed the fund and create a base, so that those who have been contributors for only five years can still get a pension that is equal to a minimum of $200,000 a year,” Bartlett explained.


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