Jamaica is examining the possibility of introducing an unemployment insurance scheme.
Labour market analyst in the Human and Community Development Unit of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Deidra Coy, said the scheme would be discussed at the annual Labour Market Reform forum which ends in Kingston today.
The forum is a collaborative effort between the PIOJ and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Coy said that with the level of unemployment increasing over the last five years, there is a view that now is an opportune time to examine the possibility of introducing the unemployment insurance scheme.
"One of the main objectives of the Unemployment Insurance Scheme is to help persons build resilience against periods of shock associated with periods of unemployment," she said.
Unemployment insurance schemes are generated and supported by a mandatory and regular contributory mechanism by both employer and employee. It is similar to a National Insurance Scheme instrument and operates in a similar fashion to the unemployment benefits scheme in the United States.
Officials say it is not new to the Caribbean as both Barbados and the Bahamas have already instituted such a scheme. Beneficiaries generally benefit from approximately 26 weeks of disbursement, depending on what has been approved.
The forum, which will benefit from the participation of international and regional specialists, will focus on three primary objectives - to sensitise stakeholders on how to operate an unemployment insurance scheme, to generate discussion on the way forward and getting consensus on an alternative to redundancy payments, and to offer recommendations on the development of a model for the unemployment insurance scheme for Jamaica.