Social Security increase begins Feb 1

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The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board has started the New Year by raising the age of retirement from 60 to 61, however, there has been a delay in the increase in contribution payment.

The 2 percentage point increase, which was due the beginning of January, will now go into effect from February 01 2017.

Director of the Social Security Scheme David Matthias attributed the delay to the late provision of certain documents.

According to the director, the new contribution rates are as follows: Private Sector the employee pays 5 percent; private sector employers pay 7 per cent, public sector employees are required to pay 4 per cent; public sector employers 7 per cent, while the self-employed contribution remains at 10 per cent.

“The law requires that you pay by the 14th of the following month for the month that has passed. So it is coming into effect in February, the effective pay date is no later than the 14th of March if you are paid monthly. If you are paid weekly it will be first week of March,” Matthias said.

The director said there is a need to increase the contribution relative to the number of persons that are employed.

“In essence, it means that for every single beneficiary there are only four persons working. As there are fewer persons working relative the number of persons receiving a benefit, you have to take more from those who are working in order to supply to persons who are not,” Matthias said.

Matthias also added that the 2 per cent is a one-off adjustment. However, there will be continuous adjustments with regards to the contributions of a half per cent, thereafter until they arrive at a maximum private 16 per cent and public 15 per cent.

“So, it means that come 2018 there will be a half per cent increase which again is shared between the employee and the employer. So, what is now 5 per cent will become 5 and a quarter and what is 7 per cent will become 7 and a quarter and it will continue until we reach the maximum,” the director said.

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