Coming out of a series of public awareness and sensitization sessions across the island on the soon-to-be established Tourism Pension Scheme, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett is reporting positive responses.
According to the Tourism Minister, while addressing a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, the sessions have been ‘bearing fruit’ with deep interest and enthusiasm from employees and employers on how the scheme will impact the sector.
“We started out with seminars and have been through all the main resort areas, including Negril, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Kingston and now we are on to the next phase of going to the hotels, then to the attractions and ground transportation,” Mr Bartlett said.
The Minister pointed out that the sensitization sessions are most critical, as “once you are asking people to take any amount from their salary, you will have to convince them that they are making the right decision, so the public awareness activities are a big part of the buy-in that we need from all the partners.”
In the interim, Minister Bartlett also specified that the Ministry is soon to appoint a Coordinator for the pension plan programme, who will be responsible for the ongoing liaison with the different stakeholders to sign up and to address any queries that may arise.
“The tourism workers’ pension plan is a big deal and we want you all to participate and be a beneficiary of what is the biggest savings instrument that Jamaica could see, as this is a powerful way of demonstrating that tourism is working for you,” the Minister asserted.
The pension scheme, which is expected to come into effect early 2020, is a defined contributory plan supported by legislation and will require a mandatory contribution by workers and employers.
It will cover all workers from 18 to 65 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.
Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.