by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Self-employment is the fastest growing arm of the private business sector in St. Kitts and Nevis, according to Eugene Hamilton, Minister with responsibility for Social Security, further stating the sector’s growth continues to climb considerably as a result of COVID-19.
“This sector is by far the fastest growing and even more so now with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as people are finding innovative means of providing for themselves. Many of them in non-traditional, informal work situations that pose serious challenges for securing their full participation in Social Security. Hence, while the registration continues to grow steadily, compliance continues to hover around a 30 percentile tier…”
He shared those sentiments as The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board celebrated 25 years of Self Employed Coverage on July 1.
The initiative began on July 1, 1996, with the range of benefits similar to those available to employees with the exception of employment injury benefits. The benefits include: sickness, maternity, invalidity, contributory old age, survivors, and funeral grants and the ages of the insured fall between 16 and 62 years.
A self-employed person can include vendors, contractors, small farmers, partners in a partnership arrangement, sole traders, medical practitioners and other professionals such as lawyers and accountants in private practice.
In a message to mark the milestone, Hamilton shared some statistics about the self-employed insured with the statutory body.
Even with the sector growing, Hamilton reported that 70 percent of the sector is not compliant with Social Security’s procedures and without compliance the self-employed cannot partake of the benefits offered and urged such people to consider continued and regular compliance.
“I take this opportunity to implore the self-employed to consider your future, as with age or sickness, the probability of loss of income is increased. You must be in it to benefit from the fund, therefore you must comply or be denied. This, of course, is not the stance we wish to take and as such Social Security encourages the self-employed persons to take keen interest in their social security status and maintain a healthy record.”