Workers Told Tourism Pension Scheme On Track

Daisy Coke, Chair of the Tourism Workers’ Pensions Oversight Committee, answers questions from participants at the Kingston sensitization and awareness session for the pension scheme held yesterday (July 11) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.. Also pictured are Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett (left), and Camille Needham, Executive Director of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

Tourism workers in the Kingston region have been given more details of how a proposed compulsory pension scheme will affect them.

The Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is to be supported by One billion dollars ($1 billion) in funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).

The defined compensation scheme is designed to cover all workers ages 18-59 years in the tourism sector, whether permanent, contract or self-employed.  This includes hotel workers as well as persons employed in related industries, such as craft vendors, tour operators, red cap porters, contract carriage operators and workers at attractions.

Benefits will be payable at age 65 years or older.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told workers at a sensitization session on Wednesday, July 11 that the pension scheme is the fourth part of the human capital development plan he has for the people in the industry. The other parts are training and capacity building; providing a pathway to professionalism and jobs, and improving the social conditions around which the tourism worker lives.

The Tourism Minister described the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme as an “Act of a Government and people who recognize the value of a set of workers who have been on the wrong end of equity for a long time. This plan will correct much of those inequities.”

Endorsing the pension scheme, Executive Director of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), Camille Needham, said her organization was extremely pleased that it was now becoming a reality.

She described the pension scheme as a step in the right direction and urged “every tourism worker to participate fully in the scheme so that you will reap the benefits in your golden years.”

The Kingston sensitization session was the final of eight sessions held in major resort areas across the island over the last four months. The sessions were intended to provide tourism workers with details of the pension scheme.

The session was held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Kingston.

By Franklin McKnight

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