by Eulana Wekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Hundreds of Non-Established Workers (N.E) on the island of Nevis gathered at the Nevis Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 26, 2023, to learn about the Retirement Package for Non-Established Workers of the Nevis Island Administration.
Hon. Mark Brantley, the Premier of Nevis, during his Monthly Press Conference on Tuesday, May 30, said his Administration was pleased to implement the programme to ensure that Non-Established workers receive compensation from the Government, some of whom have worked for decades.
“Many have worked with Government for long years, some 30, 40, some even 50 years, and when the time comes for them to retire, they’re given a handshake, maybe a plaque and they are wished all the best, and they, because they are Non-Established Workers, that is they had not been appointed to permanent establishment, they’ve never had the benefit of getting a pension or any kind of payment after they would have left.”
Brantley suggested that the Government is committed to ensuring that it brings relief and assistance to people. N.E. workers who are now leaving the service would be able to get a pension alongside their Social Security Benefit.
“We’re still doing the Math, but initially, we feel that this will cost us about EC $600,000 per year, and we expect that that will escalate upwards to about 1 to 1.1 million dollars per year as we go forward.”
The formula for Retirement Payment is calculated by the number of months worked divided by 600, multiplied by the annual salary.
For the gratuitous payment, it was also disclosed that “An officer will be given a lump-sum gratuitous payment that is equal to 25% of the retirement payment accumulated for 15 years and will thereafter receive the remaining 75% of the retirement payment annually, in the form of a reduced retirement payment.”
There are several factors laid out in the policy, some of which include:
All Non-Established Workers should be registered using a registration form. It will be signed by the Head of Department and Permanent Secretary and should be kept on the employee’s file. A copy will also be sent to Human Resources and the applicant. However, a Retirement Request Form must be submitted when a Non-Established Worker is ready to retire or resign from Public Service. Employees are required to give one month’s notice before retirement or resignation. All applications for the retirement package should be made to the Non-Established Workers Retirement Committee through their respective Heads of Departments and the Permanent Secretary.
Another important point to note is that if a Non-Established Worker opts to resign instead of retiring after at least ten years of continuous service with the NIA and has yet to reach age 62, a gratuitous payment will be paid to him or her, as stated in the policy. In the case of fifteen years of employment, a gratuitous payment is paid upon resignation, but retirement payment will be paid when the individual has attained the age of 62.
If an employee dies during employment after ten continuous years of service with the Nevis Island Administration, the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate will be entitled to receive the gratuitous payment only.
If a Non-Established worker was employed with the Nevis Island Administration when the policy was enacted but cannot contribute at least ten years of continuous service due to age or some other reason, he or she will receive a compassionate gratuitous payment calculated according to the Pensions Act formula.
In addition, workers who were transferred from Statutory bodies or entities who do not have a retirement pay or retirement scheme are also entitled to benefit from the Non-Established Workers Retirement Programme. Such entities include Nevis Cultural Development Foundation, Solid Waste Management Authority, the Nevis Tourism Authority, and Government paid workers at the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. However, all Statutory Government entities were encouraged to implement a similar scheme to that of the NIA’s Non-Established Workers Retirement Package for the benefit of their employees.
Non-Established Workers will continue to receive holiday payments; However, as of January 01 2023, all Honorariums for such individuals have been discontinued.
The policy, though, is not applicable to workers who were dismissed from the Public Service of the NIA, nor is it applicable to a worker who retires or resigns from his or her employment to avoid lawful dismissal.
The matter of retirement packages for Non-Established workers in the Federation have been a topic of conversation for years. Though the legislation was passed by the Federal Government over a decade ago, it still has not been operationalised. The Premier, during his Press Conference, said Nevis has moved ahead with its own policy, with still some constitutional matters to be confirmed.
“We have said quite clearly that, at this point, it’s a matter of policy. It’s a matter of policy because we are still investigating the question as to whether we have the constitutional authority to go to the House to pass legislation in Nevis to address this matter, and so we have said, let us not wait. Let us put this in place now as a policy, and let us see what happens at the Federal level in terms of what they will put in place there as we try to operationalise the 2011 legislation that had been passed.”
Brantley further emphasized”This is a problem affecting both St.Kitts and Nevis. In fact, the Federal Government, I believe back in 2011 or so, would have passed legislation in St.Kitts to try and address this issue. That legislation, however, has never come into full fruition. It has not been actualised. So, we in Nevis now have been waiting now for the last decade and more for this to be done for our N.E (Non-Established) workers. During that time, many have retired and have left with nothing. Many are still there labouring and giving yeoman service to the people of Nevis, and so we decided that we would move forward and put a small committee together, which I reported to the Press some time ago.”
The Non-Established Workers Retirement Committee became effective on September 01, 2022. The Non-Established Workers Retirement Scheme policy was developed in the context of the Pensions Act for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.