By Shermain Bique-Charles
The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the lives and wellbeing of nearly everyone in the twin island nation, and the staff of Antigua and Barbuda Social Security Board (ABSSB) is no exception.
David Matthias, the Director of the ABSSB, has given insight into what goes on behind the doors of the organisation, which has been under public pressure for delays in pension payments.
“I have seen people asking on Facebook how do we sleep at nights knowing there are some people suffering. It’s easy to believe we are not focusing on the issue but there isn’t a moment we aren’t looking at strategies in an effort to move forward,” he said
Matthias said that people who are on the outside looking in tend to forget that Social Security staff are also suffering and feeling the direct brunt of Covid.
Furthermore, he said, the staff are going for periods without being paid, and this is further compounding the situation.
“They themselves are going periods of time with the uncertainty of whether or not they are going to be paid. Their stress levels are high…” he told Observer.
“It [not being paid] will impact their productivity, motivation and desire to be at work. And they are still the same ones who are expected to perform higher levels of efficiency to fulfil the mandate of the organisation and provide benefits,” Matthias added.
He said the ABSSB management is currently trying to figure out ways to keep the staff motivated on the job.
“The need for motivational and constant re-inforcement of positive messages…I cannot understate how valuable it is to constantly remind staff that people are depending on us and we have to up our game, no matter how we are feeling,” he added.
The ABSSB is responsible for the funds collected and the payment of cash benefits to contributors.