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Thursday, Dec 01, 2022

BVIAA staff misses social security contributions for months, SFC hears

BVIAA staff misses social security contributions for months, SFC hears

The BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) has been unable to pay the Social Security Board (SSB) contributions of its staff for several months.

This is according to the 2022 report on the House of Assembly’s (HOA) Standing Finance Committee (SFC) budget deliberations held in November and December of last year.

During the deliberations, Opposition Leader Marlon Penn asked the number of months the entity had been in arrears.

According to Penn, he received reports that the BVIAA was being by some 10 months. But Director at the SSB, Jeanette Scatliffe-Boynes, disputed this time-period and indicated that BVIAA might just be some three months in default.

According to the SSB Director, while the statutory agency had already paid its dues for the months of September, October and November, contributions for June, July, and August were due, up to the time of the SFC deliberations late last year.

Furthermore, Scatliffe-Boynes informed that the SSB, in collaboration with BVIAA, made arrangements to ensure that its employees did not suffer.

The Director informed the SFC that the SSB will meet with BVIAA sometime in the first quarter of 2022 to ensure that arrears are received.

Employee could not receive sickness benefits

Penn, after hearing this, requested confirmation from the Director since he said evidence suggests that the contributions of more than one employee of the BVIAA was in arrears for 10 months, and consequently, one individual could not receive sickness benefits.

Scatliffe-Boynes once again indicated that she was not aware of the 10 months.

The Director stated that at the time, the BVIAA did not pay the contributions to an amount that would trigger the benefits. However, she noted that the agency later paid arrears for two months, enabling the persons to receive the sickness benefits.

Pandemic’s effects led to BVIAA’s arrears

Meanwhile, following a question from Premier Andrew Fahie about the reason for the arrears, Scatliffe-Boynes informed the SFC that the BVIAA was not generating revenue due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

The Opposition Leader then asked for confirmation that the pandemic had indeed caused the BVIAA not to pay contributions that were deducted from employees’ wages.

The Director in responding, elaborated that the BVIAA, due to the long-term effects of the pandemic, was unable to pay their 4.5% portion of the contributions.

Premier Fahie stated that the situation with the BVIAA employees was unfortunate, but to rectify the problem, the government ensured it made the arrangements with the SSB to ensure that it does not reoccur.

He further highlighted that the territory is progressing well in terms of tourism and will move forward with vigilance.


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