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NIS payment hike tomorrow - Pension payouts to climb come Thursday

Published:Sunday | January 6, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Some Jamaicans will begin paying more for National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions tomorrow, just days before an increase in pension benefits takes effect.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security yesterday issued a reminder that the increases announced by Minister Derrick Kellier last year will take effect tomorrow and Thursday.

Come tomorrow, the insurable wage ceiling for the NIS will be increased from $1 million to $1.5 million per annum.

The flat-rate contribution made by domestic workers, self-employed persons and voluntary contributors will also increase from $50 to $100 per week.

The insurable wage ceiling is the maximum income from which NIS and National Health Fund contributions are deducted.

The increase in the ceiling means that workers who earn between $1 million and $1.5 million per year will begin to pay more.

Workers earning below $1 million per year will not be affected by the increase, and persons earning above $1.5 million will not have any contributions deducted from their annual earnings.

According to the ministry, the increase in the ceiling is necessary to ensure the sustainability of the NIS and enable it to meet pension obligations.

The ceiling was last increased in August 2010. At that time, it moved from $500,000 to $1 million per annum.

In the meantime, come Thursday, benefits paid out for old-age pension, invalidity pension and widow/widower's pension will be increased.

Grants in these categories have also been increased. Grants are payable to persons who do not have sufficient contributions to qualify for a pension.

Pension benefits have also been increased for all NIS special anniversary and sugar-worker pensioners.

There will be increases in the allowances paid in respect of orphan and special-child beneficiaries and dependent spouses.

The funeral grant, which is payable on the death of an NIS contributor or pensioner (or their spouse), will also be increased.