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FALMOUTH, Jamaica; December 10, 2021: Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett has revealed that the much-anticipated Tourism Workers Pension Scheme will be introduced on January 1, 2022. Legislation giving effect to the scheme was approved by Parliament some two years ago, but implementation was delayed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Bartlett announced the new implementation date yesterday (December 9) at the official opening of the 444-suite Ocean Eden Bay hotel. He said the introduction of the scheme is now possible as the industry is recovering, adding that the safety of the workers and their social protection are of paramount importance.
Mr. Bartlett said the thinking behind the pension scheme was to ensure that “the workers of our industry can have an opportunity to look forward to a future that will secure them and their families.”
“We are back on track and have concluded arrangements with the fund manager Sagicor and fund administrator Guardian Life. Come January 1st some 350,000 tourism workers can begin registration, for a sound and worry-free financial future,” he expressed.
The Tourism Workers Pension Scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers. Prior to the pandemic, several sensitization sessions were held with tourism workers island-wide to get feedback and to explain how the scheme will work.
“The pension scheme will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers. It covers all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older,” Minister Bartlett outlined.
He explained that initially, for 2022, the contribution will be 3% of gross salary to be matched by the employer, and 5% thereafter. The Government of Jamaica will provide $1 billion to seed the fund.
“A key feature of this pension scheme is that it will allow workers to move around within the industry, taking their benefits, without being penalized or losing any of their contributions,” Minister Bartlett expressed.