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Senator raises concern over changes to Insurance Act

Published: Friday December 14, 2012 | 3:15 pm with audio | Comments 0

Monique Grange, Assistant News Editor
The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre

Trade unionist and Opposition Senator, Kavan Gayle this morning raised concern about some of the proposed amendments to the National Insurance Act.

The Bill seeks to amend the National Insurance Act to increase the insurable wage contribution from $1 million to 1.5 million, and to increase the weekly contributions for domestic workers, self-employed and voluntary contributors.

It also seeks to increase the weekly rate of benefits under the National Insurance Scheme.

Opposition Senator Kavan Gayle said while he supports amendments to the Act, he is concerned that workers will have to absorb the 50 per cent increase in the insurable wage contribution.

Senator Gayle said such a significant increase could prove detrimental to self-employed persons and domestic workers who currently pay a flat rate.

He wants the Senate to consider a recommendation by actuaries that increases to the wage ceiling be implemented automatically by 5 per cent each year.

He says measures also need to be put in place to ensure that employers pay over workers’ deductions to the relevant authorities.

In the meantime, another opposition Senator, Robert Montague wants the process to be expedited to ensure that persons who qualify for benefits are allowed to access them.

The National Insurance (Amendment) Act 2013 was passed in parliament on Tuesday.

The changes are expected to take effect in January.

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Opposition Senator Kavan Gayle.
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