Frequently Asked Questions.

Who is covered by NIS?

All persons between the ages of 18 and 70 who are gainfully occupied in insurable employment are required to be registered with the NIS. The insurable population includes employed persons, self employed persons and voluntary contributors.

What happen to NIS contributors?

Contributions paid to the NIS are invested by the National Insurance Fund (NIF) in real estate, money and equity markets. NIS benefits and administrative expenses are paid from these funds. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has responsibility for the collection of contributions and the administration of benefits under the Scheme.

What are the types of NIS benefits?

  1. Maternity Allowance
  2. Special Child Benefits

Can I lay off workers for 120 days?

Yes, in keeping with the Employment Termination and Redundancy Payments Act, you may.

The MLSS however encourages employers to use lay-off as last resort and therefore examine other creative and innovative strategies including work from home, flexible hours and rotation as alternatives to remain productive and continue to offer services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can I extend the lay-off beyond 120 days?

At the expiration of the 120 days period, the employee, if not recalled to work, may elect in writing to be made redundant and the employer would be obliged to honour that request.

As an employer can I send workers on vacation?

No – only if the worker elects to apply for vacation leave that might be due to him/her at that particular time. The worker must voluntarily apply for vacation leave and should not be forced to take that course of action.

As an employer can I combine vacation leave and period of lay-off?

Vacation leave and lay-off are two separate items under the Labour Law and should be treated as such. Vacation leave is paid leave, while “lay-off” may be absence from work without pay.

If a worker opts for vacation leave prior to a period of lay-off this is permissible.

I have been laid off, what payments are due to me?

A worker can be laid-off from work for a period not exceeding 120 days and the employer can opt not to pay for this period or may determine the level of payment.

The worker is due salary for days worked prior to lay-off.

In accordance with Section 5 (3)(b) of the Employment Termination and Redundancy Payments Act, the worker is deemed to be laid off without pay even in instances where the worker receives some pay or is engaged to work for limited times only.

I have a dispute with my employer as I was fired without cause. What can I do?

A worker can formally write to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to briefly, but clearly, outline the circumstances leading up to the termination of their employment, if they are of the view that they were “fired” without a justified cause.

I have been laid off and not given a letter, what can I do?

While it would be better to have received a letter of lay-off from your employer it is not a requirement by law.

It is suggested that you write to your employer to enquire when you are expected to return to work.

Employers are also encouraged to document changes in its employment arrangement as documentary evidence in the event of an industrial dispute.

What kind of leave is due if someone has a miscarriage?

Under the Maternity Leave Act it depends at what point in the pregnancy the female worker had the miscarriage.

If she was at least 28 weeks in confinement and was employed for a minimum of fifty- two (52) weeks she can qualify for normal maternity leave.

If not, she can opt to submit a Medical Certificate for sick leave if she is absent from work over three (3) days.

If I have COVID-19 what kind of leave is due? What happens to my pay?

Under the Holidays with Pay Order (1973) workers are entitled to ten (10) days sick leave per year. There is no special leave under our current Labour Laws for COVID 19.

The Holidays with Pay Order provides for the worker to be paid whilst on sick leave to their credit. In the event the worker does not qualify for sick leave with pay, the worker

is still entitled to the period of absence as determined by the medical practitioner (sick leave without pay).

If a worker needs to be quarantined how are those days treated? Is it from their leave? As the employer, am I required to pay the workers?

If a worker is quarantined the period away from work can be treated as an absence without pay. Workers who are eligible may opt to apply for vacation leave if they so wish.

Workers who are ordered to be quarantined must remain away from the workplace for the prescribed period.