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Kellier sends warning to employers who withhold NIS deductions

No more 'carrot' approach!

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, February 02, 2013    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier says that the Government will be moving to punish employers who continue to withhold National Insurance Sceme (NIS) contributions deducted from their employees' salaries.

"I am warning all employers who continue to flout the law by not remitting NIS contributions for their employees that we will no longer be predominantly taking the "carrot" approach to our compliance efforts. Instead, we will be utilising more and more the "stick" that is provided under the National Insurance Act," the labour and social security minister declared on Thursday.

He made the comments at a contract signing for the $64.4 million renovation and expansion of the ministry's parish office in the history town of Falmouth.

He also warned that the identities of delinquent employers will be publicised.

"And we will show no fear or favour in our efforts, as we are prepared, where necessary, to name them and shame them," Kellier said.

"In order to further protect the interest of our pensioners and contributors, the ministry will this year be stepping up the pressure on delinquent employers islandwide. This goes for delinquent employers in both the public and private sectors," he warned.

Meanwhile, Denzil Thorpe, director of social security explained that although non-compliant employers can be charged under the National Insurance Act, oftentimes arrangements are made for them to pay over a stipulated period of time.

He noted, however, that more delinquent employers will be taken before the courts.

"What we have been doing consistently is work out arrangements for employers that if they even owe us we know that times are hard so we say pay us over time and at least that which is deducted from the employees salaries are paid over immediately," Thorpe explained.

"But I think some of the employers seem to be taking advantage of that situation and are now chronically delinquent. So, we will be taking more court action," he added.

Meanwhile, the expansion and renovation of the ministry's parish office is a part of the re-birth and regeneration of the town of Falmouth. Additionally, the work will result in a more modern facility, providing comfortable accommodation for the ministry's staff and the public and well as lead to improvements in its service delivery.

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