Final arrangements made to begin tourism workers’ pension scheme

Edmund Bartlett

The Ministry of Tourism is reporting that the final arrangements have been made to officially begin the tourism workers’ pension scheme.

Portfolio Minister Edmund Bartlett said the contracts have been signed between the fund manager, Sagicor, and the administrators, Guardian Life. He informed that the first tranche of $250 million would be transferred to the fund in short order.

“So that’s done and that is out of the way, and at least the fund would have started and everything will be in escrow. Of course, awaiting the turn of events, so that the workers can come back on their jobs and be able to commence their contributions,” Minister Bartlett told JIS News.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is in keeping with the Government’s focus on creating a social security network within the sector.

It is one component of a three-pronged human capital development plan for industry workers, which includes training and capacity building. The pension scheme is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require mandatory contributions by workers and employers.

It will cover all workers in the tourism sector, from age 18 to 59 years, whether permanent, contractual or self-employed. These include 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. Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

The Ministry of Tourism is providing $1 billion to seed the fund, so that immediate benefits can accrue to qualified pensioners who have met the vested period of five years.