Tourism workers guaranteed security after retirement – Bartlett
Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, has reassured stakeholders in the sector that the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme will guarantee their social security after retirement.
The minister gave his assurance at a Tourism Workers’ Pension awareness and sensitisation session to urge industry workers to sign onto the scheme, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, on Thursday.
“When you don’t want to pay and become part of a pension plan at the beginning of your work, you are putting yourself in a little spot when you get to the pill stage (retirement).We (Government) want to make sure that all the workers are seized with the importance of this savings instrument that we are creating that provides for them social security after retirement,” Bartlett said.
He described the landmark pension scheme as a “statement of commitment of the Government to the welfare of the workers of the tourism industry,” noting that tourism workers have consistently contributed to the economic growth of Jamaica.
The minister anticipates that the 350,000 tourisms players will sign on to the scheme, which, he said, will “make it the largest pension plan in the Caribbean and, arguably, anywhere in the world of tourism”.
For her part, chair of the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme Oversight Committee, Daisy Coke, informed the seminar that for the first three years of the scheme’s operation, employees will contribute three percent of their salary, matched by three percent from their employers. Subsequently, that rate will be increased to five per cent.
The ministry will continue its campaign to educate tourism players on the importance of the pension scheme, with several meetings to be held in the coming weeks with sector groups.
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 aged 18 to 59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent,on contract or self-employed. 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.
The Financial Services Commission will be responsible for regulatory oversight of the scheme.