Covid-19 Unemployment payoff
Over the last five weeks, the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has received 29,076 claims from persons who have become unemployed.
According to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, unemployment numbers are expected to rise as businesses continue to grapple with operational changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My team has worked hard to remove the red tape that would otherwise have delayed payment to this group of Barbadians and many have already received their first cheque last week and others will continue to do so.
The National Insurance System is the first line of defense for most households. Those who are laid off by their employer get unemployment benefits for six months. Those on short weeks gets 60 percent for the days they are not working.”
PM Mottley said the Scheme has the capacity to meet the increased demand.
“The NIS has more than sufficient assets to meet these demands, but they are not liquid or in the right divisions. The Government will support the NIS whether through existing funds being held at the Central Bank from loans we have received or by purchasing the bonds that the NIS holds to the tune of $250m. In essence, we will prepay the NIS early and Finance it through the issuance of a Pandemic Solidarity Bond.”
She announced the launch a new initiative aimed at assisting self-employed persons who have been paying contributions to the NIS but not entitled to unemployment benefits.
“While there are genuine practical challenges to providing unemployment benefits to a self-employed person, there is also a real need. We care for all. We will NOW launch a new onetime Business Cessation Benefit for the self-employed of $1500 per month for April and May only.”
The PM explained this new category of benefits will cost the NIS $8.5 million, to be sourced out of the NIS initial liquidity.