Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has criticised the government for its tactics, arguing that employees should not be penalised for their failures in remitting taxes and making the required contributions to the National Health Insurance (NHI) and to Social Security.
The legislator was speaking in the House of Assembly (HOA) where he said it was “a little much“ to ask an employee to ensure their employer secures a Good Standing Certificate before the employee’s s work permit can be renewed.
Good Standing Certificates are required in order for a business to be issued with work permits, but this had not traditionally been enforced.
After it was enforced by former Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley, bottlenecks began to appear in the system causing severe delays in work permit processing and the new system was subsequently “relaxed”.
“I think if you have an issue with the employer, you should settle it with the employer and not the employee,” Fraser stated.
Fraser has previously questioned the government’s intent on the issue, asking at the time what the Labour Department could get from the employer’s certificate that it could not get from the employee’s certificate instead.
“Employees shouldn’t have to know whether I did my good standing or not. It’s not his business. He needs to know if I paid his Social Security and NHI, he needs to know that,” the Opposition Leader argued.
In instances where payments have not been remitted for the employee, Fraser said once this has been discovered, the employee needs to report it to the relevant agency.
“It’s not his responsibility to make sure that you go and pay Social Security, it’s Social Security‘s responsibility to make sure he comes in and pays Social Security. So don’t penalise an individual by not giving them their work permit,” Fraser argued.
He said legislators need to be careful they don’t infringe on things that made the Virgin Islands
what it is as they create laws.