KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday March 13, 2019 – Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says work on the proposed Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is expected to be completed shortly.
“We are hopeful that [by] the end of this week, we will have sign-off by the Attorney General so that we can be in a position to go to Cabinet with the draft legislation and, hopefully, I can table it…in Parliament this year,” he said.
He was speaking during a ceremony to announce the 2018 Tourism Service Excellence Awards (TSEA) finalists yesterday.
The pension scheme is designed to provide retirement benefits for all industry workers, whether they are permanent, contract or self-employed. Hotel workers, craft vendors, tour operators, contract carriage operators, among others, will be eligible for benefits that will be payable at age 65 and older.
Bartlett said that significant work has been undertaken over the last two years to develop the pension plan.
He said that unlike other sectors where the schemes and related policies are tailored for a homogenous group of workers, the tourism pension plan is intended to cover “the widest possible range of employment interests”.
“In tourism, it’s a confluence of [stakeholders] ranging from red cap porters at the airport to the taxi driver, to the people in attractions… all the way up to the workers in the hotels at the highest level,” Bartlett noted.
He said the Tourism Workers’ Pension Scheme is in keeping with the Government’s focus on creating a social security network within the tourism sector.
It is one component of a three-point human capital development plan for industry workers, which also includes training and capacity building. The scheme will receive $1 billion in funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
The 2018 Tourism Service Excellence Awards ceremony, slated for March 30, the event will recognize and honour individuals and organisations across the industry that have distinguished themselves by displaying the highest standards in service delivery.