Persons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) who are self-employed may be mandated to pay contributions into the National Insurance Services (NIS) if proposed recommendations are implemented.
This was revealed by Executive Director of the NIS, Stewart Haynes during a media consultation on Tuesday, November 22 where he highlighted the importance of self-employed individuals being covered under the social security net.
The NIS does not currently have a benefit system for persons who become unemployed, however, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic temporary unemployment benefits were paid out to 1,354 persons from April to December 2020, totalling EC $2,358,750. Statistics shows preschool workers made up the larger portion of those who received benefits.
“We saw during the pandemic that self-employed persons were hard hit, government came to their rescue. NIS gave support, once you were a contributor.”
Haynes said the NIS has included mandatory contributions for the self-employed in the list of reform measures presented to government, noting how income is earned should not determine if contributions are made.
“I went to a world social security forum and coverage among self employed globally is less than 20 percent. In the reform measures we recommend that we make self employed [contributions] mandatory. It is an important system, pensions and social security should not be a choice. You shouldn’t be choosing if you are self-employed and contribute, or if you are working and contributing. In Grenada it is mandatory, so I would certainly recommend that coverage of self-employed be mandatory.”
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