Employers warned of sanction

| 05/02/2012

Pension_1251122c.jpg(CNS): Employers who break the labour laws are being warned that they could lose their business licenses with the emergence of the long awaited new regime at the Department of Employment Relations. The division into two distinctive departments, accompanied by what the labour minister, Rolston Anglin, described as “massive legal reform”, has been in the works for over a year and the split, he said, will make it easier to bring employers currently flouting both the pensions and labour laws to account. Mario Ebanks has now been appointed as director of the new Labour and Pensions agency, which will focus on employer compliance with the relevant laws and is intended to heraldin a new era of fairness in the workplace.

“At the moment people are incentivised to break the law,” Anglin said. The penalty process when it comes to the payment of pensions is so long and drawn out, the minister said, it didn’t make sense to simply employ more pensions inspectors to try and follow up the 600 plus reported infringements of the law. Instead, government will be putting in place an administrative regime that will allow people to be brought to account. It will also allow inspectors to go to the employer following a complaint and give the employer, if found in contravention of the law, an on-the-spot fine.

Anglin said the new penalty regime would be sufficiently robust to prevent further infringements by the employer because the department would be working in close tandem with the Trade and Business Licencing Board to ensure that habitual offenders would not get their licences renewed. Anglin explained that government would be on guard against offenders shutting up shop and applying for a brand new licence.

Speaking to CNS Business at the Chamber Expo on Friday, the minister said that it had been an important focus for the government to split what he saw as two distinct sections – one that dealt with the regulatory and compliance side of employment relations and one that promoted the development of individuals to move forward in their careers. The minister said a lot work had been going on to remedy what he called long standing “failures and inefficiencies” of the current structure of labour-related functions.

He explained that the new system will allow for proactive workplace inspections and promote compliance with labour and pension legislation with minimum inconvenience to good employers. 

With the retirement of Jennifer Smith from the DER, Ebanks has been appointed director of the new enforcement agency and he returns to the civil service with years of human resource and consultancy experience from both the public and private sector. Anglin said Ebanks would be bringing a unique skill set and wealth of experience.

Chief Officer for Employment Mary Rodrigues said the timing of Ebanks’ appointment means he will be able to play an important role in the transition arrangements, preparing his team for the new regime and the move to new premises.” 

A recruitment process will also start for a deputy post to oversee the labour functions of the new labour and pensions department. A major revision of the National Pensions Law is also nearing completion. 

Ebanks said labour and pensions are critical services and he had a long standing interest in the issues as well as a history working on government labour reform. He said he was looking forward to working closely with the various professional and trade associations and with fellow HR professionals in a partnership to “effect transformative strategies which enhances workplace productivity, safety and tranquillity,” he added.

Rodrigues said the changes had already been accounted for within the ministry’s budget for this financial year and would not be new costs.

Category: Local News

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    What exactly are the pension board there for? I reported the fact that no monies were paid into my pension fund and was told I would have to take it to court myself!

    I would have thought that if you reported something like thisto the pension board their job would be to investigate it.

    I was also told that my employer was waiting for a large payout frome an earlier court and he would reimburse all the stolen pensions monies then, this was well over a year ago and in the meantime he continues to steal my pension.

  2. Anonymous says:

    West Bayer's quieting West Bayers.

    An opinion.

    Elections coming and the UDP as effectively quieted one of its opponents.  It is common knowledge that Mario has not been a big fan of Macs even running against him at one time.  I can assume the UDP was afraid of Mario taking sides again in the upcoming election.  Now he has be gagged.  Smart thinking on the part of the UDP.    Mario did not need a refrigerator but a job will work.

    That being said I do feel Mario will do  great job in this post and will serve Cayman well.  but the truth is it is the UDP that gains the most.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When was the vacancy for this position that mario has convinced Rolston to give him advertised?

  4. Anonymous says:

    We have the laws, we do not have a government that follows laws.

    That has always been our main problem.

     

     

  5. Dreadlock Holmes says:

    Part of the problem exists with the Pension Adminstrators.  They send out statements to employees (the onlt way for an employee to find out the status) every six months or even longer.  On the statement it says to notify them of a descrepancy.  Following which they advise you to contact your employer.  The same one holding your Work Permit. It is no wonder many employees don't know where to turn. The Pension Commissioner?  They have perhaps only a single inspector. By the time that transpires and paperwork is shuffled – voila- you're gone.  Work permit cancelled. Off island. Still seeking information where your money has gone.  Work Permits should NOT be held by employers. They should be held between a Government agency (Immigration and Employment) and the individual worker.  This would prevent abuses in both Pension and Health Insurance. Otherwise it is a modern Feudal System and open to abuses of all sorts.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The government institutes a law that mandates you to pay into a scheme with no gaurantee that what you put in will be there at retirement.  The expatriates on roll-over is the major beneficiary of these laws.  They get to take out their contribution after nine years (7 years work permit + 2 years wait).  They don't have to deal with the uncertainity of waiting 30 years for retirement.  

    2nd,the 7 year roll-over law is an added burden for severance payment to a worker every 7 years especially to businesses which are labour intensive and relies on expatiate workers.  Not olny do you have to pay pension for these workers, but you have to pay severance.  This, I think,  is a double whammy and the govt. needs to look into.  It sould be one or the other but not both.  

    • ex-expat. says:

      After working for 2 years and waiting another 3 years I got out a litlle less than what I put in for my pension.  This is minus my company's matching contribution.  Is it me or is EVERYTHING  that has to do with other peoples money on Cayman a scam?

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon10:48,what you  are saying is, we were corn hobed by these pension adminiostrators whom made a bigger fool of the Government to agree to erroneously made these laws to f@@k their businesses.

      If the 20,000 plus intransit workers, withdrawing the savings that we the business/employers saved for them including  your 5% which could help us pay the bill.

      We hire these people, pay their wages for a honest days work and then we turn around and are forced (mandatory) by our government to save money for them…Government  should be ashamed of themselves.

      If the above is the case, which i know it is, then the Government should be liable for making such  erroneous laws to f@@k their business owners.,

  7. Anonymous says:

    Does it mean that days of work contracts forcing expat and local workers to work overtime on a regular rate are over? I will believe it when i will see it on my next pay check!

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about making employers pay overtime after someone have worked 45 hours?

    That will make them reconsider their atrious and inconsiderate behaver.

    have the employer work for 1 week under the conditions he expect his employees to perform.

    how can someone work 20 hours a day month after month and be effective,

    eg. security guards report to work 6:30pm leave at 5:30 am and at 8:00am same day you see them posted at Banks in town, dont you think someone is sleeping on the job?.

    and forget about pension, health benifets and being short paid week after week!!

  9. Killer Chicken says:

    The attitude of some of these posters shows the disgusting feudal mentality of many local small business owners.  Pension payments to employees are not an optional cost to be cut off when times are bad.  If you can't pay these either don't pay the shareholders/owners or shut down the business.

    • Kosher Nostra says:

      Killer Chicken,

      It's simple to see that you have neverran a business nor maybe have no empathy for either party, business owner nor employee.  If NO one can afford to do business, let's say a start up business, how can any employee be paid? 

      Don't get me wrong, I agree and have been an employer and employee and see fit for a pension to be paid.  However, when I've been an employee, I've been in the position of it's better for me to receive weekly paydays and no pension than to forfeit my loan payments and have my children go hungry.

      My position is simply put; better half a loaf and eat than no slice and starve.

      Careful though, as corruption and abuse can run on both sides of the fence.  Drive the small businesses into the ground and see how much you CS will have to pay for groceries etc!

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 08;14

      Oviously you don't own a trade & business license.and dont know shit about business. in the real world where each business has it's own union, and is respected by their Government. there are options given, also tax breaks and concessions.

       I can hear the vindictivness in you, when you suggest "shut down your business". I hope you're  not running for public office.

      No one is saying dont have a pension scheem, but at least run it like one, and not as a savings for expat workers. What is it's use, if 20,000 workers are taking their money  home with them, when their 7 years of working here is comleted, and i forgot, the two extra years added to finally suck small businesses for a saving.

       Civilise business  lobby not only for options, but also exemptions, and concessions. and mostly   from prosecution from their Government. Check out the red Indians of North America, including Canada. Check out the minority business protection plan. These are the blacks, latinos, female, and all who own small businesse.

      We have to start looking for smart ways to create revenue.

      But wait a minute! …..none of this private pension money is going to the Government's revenue! it's all going to these private money manager's pockets.

       Caymanians,  this how low our Government has stooped? we have been set up to drain our little profits to these mega financial instituations. just look at ythe mansions they in, and the cars they drive.

      What did they tell us back in 1998? we need a pension so you wont be a burdon on the Government, when you get old. ha ha, check out the social services, 8,000 recipiants, and 80% are able to work. People are retiring, and some are receiving 200.00 per month if they are lucky. It is not wroking.

      Rolston i would suggest you take Micky's advice and start a salary tax. Tax is tax, as least that one will make sense. Stop penalising your loving Caymanians that you love, the small businesses will have to shut down, and all 800 plus, non- compliance put in jail at the expense of $45,000.00 per year. Remember you can be liable for being prejudice against who you want to drag into court, and who you put a blind eye to.

      I dont think any business will take this laying down. The laws are erroneous and bears  no justice for  the part time businesses owners. Which contradicts the course for  natural justice. The European human rights act, will sure be pissed off, to see how small businesses are dealt with in this country.

       

  10. Anonymous says:

    Let me put my two cents in. The law needs to be enforced and kept enforced around the clock. Don't overlook any company, as a matter of fact they should get surprise audit checks.

    I do agree with the comment that McCarron made that the employee should have more say in what they monies are being invested in since there is so much dishonesty in investments these days with poor people's money with all of the Ponzi schemes around and only God knows what else.

    They law need to bring the private pensions in line with the civil service in the way a pensioner should be able to get a better payout at their time of retirement.

    Also if a person leaves the islands they should haven't to wait 2 years to collect what they have busted their buns for. I know of someone now that feel they have been completed ripped off and ignored when they have asked questions about their payout and quite a large sum too less than than what they were expecting and they can't get answers. This Pension in Cayman is the Biggest Joke I have ever heard about, read about or have to pay into every payday and there is really no one to turn to.

    My suggestion to Rolston would be don't take chances on ignoring people pleas for help in these matters because election will soon come. The same people that put them in are the people getting jacked by the pensions.

    To Marrio good luck you will have your job cut out for you there will be lots of rocks to look under.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      If employees want more say then they have all the rights to go lodge their own savings. no one is holding them back. Whenever payday comes, they take all their pay  home when it is given them. They know where the savcing offices are. go any deposit as much savings as you want.

      06:19 you sound like a blood sucker, what did you do before the stupid government put this saving in place? you worked , got paid , blew out some saved some, and now you want 5% of your employers money also, you should be ashmed of yourself, no conscience. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    To anon 13;44, better than your suggestion, just shut down all small businesses, THEY CANT AFFORD TO PAY THESE FEES, THEY ARE BEING PUSHED OUT OF THE MARKET BY THE FLOODING OF PERPETUAL ISSUING OF TRADE & BUSINESS LICENCES.

    I would advise Rolston to call a public meeting with the 1500 hundred plus small businesses, before he sets up Mario for a fall.

    I would suggest he look into the flooding of trade and business licenses in the country. This is the reson small businesses cannot make enough money to pay these unthinkable fees. If this Government is going to apply union laws , they should go all the way, and not pick out the ones that will only create revenue for themselves. Where are the union laws to protect businesses, the regulations to protect from unscruperlous  fronters, the expats that sits in a banks chair  and runs a construction business, by using his own country men? an immigration officer in charge of the decision making, of the same business he or she is competing with? the large businesses that opperating as consultants, project managers and conducting construction businesses, at the same time. government needs to halt this first before they crusify their pesants. the status holders that are now freelansing…contracting work without trade license, no pension, no health, pays for no  work permits, using men off the street. This causing lost in revenue for Government. unfair competition for legit small businesses.  

  12. Kosher Nostra says:

    Great!  

    On the flip side though-small business will also suffer.  We can see that people can at least pay bills even if they don't get a pension.  Let's face it, many small businesses will down size or outright close.  Let's see anyone get paid for not working.  Well except for Rolston who gets paid for working against anything tangibly sensible for small business.

     

    Mortgages, car payments, phone bills, cuc bills, food bills, fuel bills, tuition bills etc…no work, no pay.  

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you anon21:58

      Not only will small businesses close, Government will lose most of their revenue. Should the small business close, there will be tremendos loss in  work permit fees, less people means less duties from commodities, like duties on food, cars, and fees for Government. These are things  they make their biggest revenue from. Check out why they want to increase population…more revenue. 

      I think Rolstone is bitting off his nose to spite his face. Did he ever ask the small businesses what will work best for them? do i see signs of dictorship? leving more hardship on his people.

      Small businesses of the  Cayman Islands, time is past due for  a trade's union. no government should be dictating to its businesses,let's get out of the slave trade, it was abolished by the British Empire in July 1833.

      What nerve of the Government? they cant keep up with their public pension, but expect the private working class to adhere to their ideals….  what lunacy.The  private pension was forced on it's people withoput any thoughts or considerations. The six money grabbers sat with the black crab mentalities and decided to screw the small businesses and make themselves  richer..does this sound familer. ckeck out the millions lost within the private pension.

      I can see a class action law suit coming to sort out this mess. not only have they erred in law, they have failed to demonstrate the course of natrual justice. the  pension laws are erronous.  how can you penalise businesses that only conduct busines  6 months out of a year…., if they are lucky. 800 plus businesses not complying, you had better start building bigger jail Rolly.

  13. McCarron McLaughlin says:

    There is a quite storm forming, pensioners need more authonomy in how their pensions are invested.

    A few weeks back I contacted my pension administrator regarding investing some of my pension in hard assets such a silver and gold or soft commodities such as wheat & corn and was told it's not possible.

    I asked them what guarantee I have that the US dollar will not devalue and I asked what will happen if the world enters in another recession and most of my pension value is wiped out, they dont have the answers.

    It may sound like I'm over concerned, but I believe the gov't should be doing more to secure people's future pension, god forbid world war 3 starts all of these "paper products" our pension are invested in will go up in smoke alongwith our pensions.

    There are safer investments out on the market besides Mutual Funds, a good example is the silver IRA.

    Government need to ensure pensions are paid by employers, but at the same time they need to ensure that pensions are protected from market downturns as well.

  14. Theloneharangue says:

    Yeah that’s right put even more pressure on the beleaguered private sector o theycaose down and put evenmoreeople out of wok.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Taking away my T and B is fine, just don’t touch my work permits!

  16. Anonymous says:

    OK, Mario, well done! Now try and settle down and make a success of this new career.

  17. xpat says:

    The manner in which the Pensions Law has been enforced against offending employers to date has been totally shambolic; a national joke.

     

    You don't need a whole load of inspectors. You need to start with a carefully prepared questionnaire  which requires employers to certify in writing exactly how they are complying. It can require them to state the numbers of employees, the numbers in different wage bands, the pension scheme adopted, the total contributions deducted from employees in 2011, the total payments made to the pension scheme in respect thereof… and so on. It will be an immediate fine on any employer who fails to respond, FULLY,within say 3 months, with fines increasing every week they fail to respond. An incomplete form will mean immediate attention from an inspectors and/or fine.  The inspectors go to work with site visits etc. on the minority once the majority (one hopes) appears compliant.

     

    It is easy to prove if paymens are being made. It is easy to prove if deductions are being made from paypackets. You just need the will to apply the law. I don't kow why this has always been such a problem. Let us hope Mario will actually make a difference.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Finally! Mario Ebanks is in charge of something of significance. Hope he will feel fulfilled now but he should realize that his capabilities and "unique skill set" will be in the public eye now.