Labour Overview – St. Vincent & The Grenadines
The minimum wages of different types of workers are set by orders. Hours of work are different depending on the type of worker, as are overtime premiums. Maternity leave entitlements are also different for each type of worker. There are 14 public holidays. With respect to vacation, again the amount differs for each type of worker.
Section 25 of the Protection of Employment Act, 2003 addresses severance pay. The qualifications apply across the board to all types of employees. The qualifying period for severance pay in respect of permanent workers is 2 years and up. For intermittent workers such as construction workers, they must have worked at least 100 days within that 2 year period. Severance pay is calculated as follows:
For 2nd to 10th years of service, 2 weeks pay per year of service;
For 11th to 25th years of service, 3 weeks per year; and
For 25th year and over, 4 weeks pay per year.
The Act also provides for justified and unjustified dismissals.
Under the Protection of Employment Act, 2003, section 16, the grounds under prohibition against termination of employment do not mention age as one of the factors for which an employer cannot terminate the services of an employee.
Part VIII of the Insurance Act, Chapter 306 governs private pension plans. The Act provides for the registration of pension plans and the requirements to be met for registration. The Fourth Schedule to the Act describes the assets in which the pension fund may be invested.
Note that St. Vincent is part of a larger review being conducted by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Commission on the Pension and Pension Administration Reform. The goal of the Commission is to review and make recommendations to achieve the goals of stable, predictable and adequate income security throughout retirement.
We will keep you updated on the progress of the Commission.
Social Security Benefits
National Insurance Act, Cap. 229 provides for the payment of the following benefits under this Act: sickness benefit, maternity benefit, invalidity benefit, survivor’s benefit, funeral grant and age benefit. These benefits are financed by contributions paid by members and investment returns. Section 27 also provides for employment injury benefit. Social Security contributions do include pension but not health insurance. Employees generally take care of health insurance on their own.
At the end of every pay period contributions must be deducted from the employees’ wages/salary. Currently, the total rate of contribution is 8% of insurable earnings. Of this total rate the employee pays 3.5% and the employer pays 4.5%. There is a maximum amount of insurable earnings.