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Trade unionist agrees with Opposition that proposed health insurance tax could prompt unrest

Published:Wednesday | March 15, 2017 | 10:43 AM

At least one trade unionist is in agreement with a declaration by Opposition spokesman on finance, Dr Peter Phillips, that the proposed tax on group health insurance will result in industrial unrest in Jamaica.

President of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU), Helene Davis-Whyte, insists that the imposition of the tax on group health insurance will result in increased costs for both employers and workers.

Davis-Whyte says the cost of health insurance is shared by the employer and employee and the imposition of GCT will result in payments by employees also increasing.


Helene Davis White on possible unrest with insurance tax

The JCTU president also points out that the increase from the imposition of the GCT will be in addition to adjustments for medical inflation, which normally runs ahead of regular inflation.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw told journalists on Monday that it was unlikely that employers will pass on the increase resulting from the tax to employees

However, in his budget debate presentation, Dr Phillips, said based on his calculations it could cost a company with two thousand five hundred workers about $53 million to maintain the health benefits employees currently enjoy.

And he said companies have competitive realities to deal with and are more likely to reduce health benefits.

A little over 30 per cent of Jamaicans have health insurance and just over half of that number obtained it through an employer.