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Employee Programme

Who is an Employee?

An employee is a person who performs services under a contract of service or apprenticeship with an employer. Further, under the NIS legislation an employee is anyone who:

  • Is in receipt of wages of $15 or more per week
  • Engages in full-time, part-time, casual or temporary employment.
  • Is between the ages of 16 and Pensionable Age, and is working for an employer.

For the purpose of Employment Injury Benefit, all workers (including those under 16 and those over Pensionable age) should be registered with the NIS.

The following are minor exceptions to these stipulations:

  1. Wages that amount to less than $15 per week.
  2. Employment without wages/salaries by an employee’s relative.
  3. Employment of any person who is not a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines who is accorded diplomatic or equivalent status, or a member of the armed forces of another country.
  4. Employment of any person, who is not a citizen of this Country, by a recognized international government organization (otherwise than as a domestic worker).
  5. Employment of a spouse whether or not under a contract of service.

The National Insurance Board has the power to hand down decisions on questions concerning the following:

  1. Whether a person is or was employed in insurable employment.
  2. The class or category of insured persons in which a person is to be included.
  3. Who is liable for the payment of contributions as the employer.

The decisions handed down by the Board on the above questions shall be final except on a point of law, in which case an appeal can be made to the High Court.

Contract of Service Versus Contract for Service

To determine the nature of any contractual relationship the following tests must be considered:

  1. The mutuality of obligation test – employer provides work, employee carries out that work
  2. Control test – who controls the amount of and manner in which the work is done.
  3. Integration test – the extent to which the individual is fully integrated into the employer’s organisation
  4. Economic reality test – ownership of tools equipment, instruments, wages, sick pay

A contract of service exists if someone agrees that in consideration for wages or other remuneration he/she will provide the work and skill in the performance of service for another person. By so doing he/she agrees expressly or implicitly that in the performance of that service he/she will be subject to that person’s control.

In the circumstances outlined above these conditions normally exist if the person (employee):

  1. has no control over the duties performed
  2. personally, has to provide the service
  3. does not own the tools or equipment used (or only insignificant tools).
  4. has fixed hours of work
  5. has a fixed salary or regular commission
  6. has no possibility of making a profit or loss

It should, therefore, be noted that a person who enters into a contract for a fixed time or a specific task is still an employee once the above conditions exist.

In the case where the above conditions do not hold in the contractual arrangement, you may be considered as an independent contractor providing a service at a cost.

An independent contractor normally is not under the control of another person. He/she may or may not be personally responsible for the execution of the job and there is the possibility he/she may be able to realise a profit or loss.

Independent contractors are encouraged to register with the NIS as self-employed persons and make contributions on their own behalf.

How do you Register?

An employer shall ensure that every employee is registered with the NIS within 7 days of commencing employment. The employee is required to complete an application for registration (Form R1) and submit with a copy of his/her birth certificate or passport and marriage certificate in the case of a married woman.

Upon registration, the employee will be issued a National Insurance card, which shows his/her name and NIS registration number.

Although employees already registered under the National Provident Fund (NPF) Act (No.1/1970) shall be treated as registered members under the National Insurance Act, employees are still required to complete the application for registration under the NIS. They will be given the same registration number that was assigned to them under the NPF Act.

Points To Remember When Claiming Benefits
Benefit Time for Claiming
Sickness Not later than 15 days of visiting the doctor
Maternity 6 weeks before the date of confinement or 4 weeks within the date of confinement
Funeral Grant Within 6 months of the death of the deceased insured person
Invalidity Within 3 months of being declared an invalid
Age Not later than 3 months after you have reached your retirement age
Survivors’ Not later than 3 months from the death of the deceased person
Employment Injury Not later than 15 days of the injury or job-related disease

When are you Eligible for an Old Age Pension?

Year of Birth Pensionable Age Required Contributions
1955 and before 60 500
1956-1957 61 550
1958-1959 62 600
1960-1961 63 650
1962-1963 64 700
1964 and after 65 750