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SKN | Dec 21, 2020

St Kitts and Nevis set to introduce unemployment insurance

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Wendy Phipps, minister of labour for St Kitts and Nevis. (Photo: Facebook @sknismedia)

St Kitts and Nevis seems set to introduce unemployment insurance with the government there now considering draft legislation to this effect from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board.

The draft legislation proposes the establishment of an Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Minister of Labour Wendy Phipps, in welcoming the initiative, commended the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board for its efforts in this regard.

She emphasised that such an initiative was particularly critical during this time when the employment status of many people is impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The St. Kitts and Nevis labour minister argued that “had we had that before COVID, it might have eased our burden quite a bit”.

“In 2021, it (the Unemployment Insurance Fund) is a matter that will be pursued by the ministry and the (national) tripartite committee so that persons who would have lost their jobs and would have been out of work for 90 days would be eligible to claim from the fund.”

Wendy Phipps, minister of labour for St Kitts and Nevis.

During her Budget Debate presentation last week, Phipps noted that the government spent $120 million in stimulus support to help lessen the devastating economic impact of the pandemic on St. Kitts and Nevis. The labour minister promised that her administration would pursue the unemployment insurance scheme next year.

“In 2021, it (the Unemployment Insurance Fund) is a matter that will be pursued by the ministry and the (national) tripartite committee so that persons who would have lost their jobs and would have been out of work for 90 days would be eligible to claim from the fund,” she said.

However, for individuals to benefit, Phipps explained that “the claimant must actively demonstrate that he/she is seeking employment as “it is not intended for you to remain on it for the rest of your life”.

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