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Belmopan CitCo Owes SSB $100,000 + SSB Rejects Employee’s Claim

Belmopan CitCo Owes SSB $100,000 + SSB Rejects Employee’s Claim
June 07
11:08 2019

An employee of the Belmopan City Council who had applied for sickness benefits from the Social Security Board (SSB) was denied those benefits recently because contributions had not been paid in to SSB in order for them to collect those benefits. A check with SSB’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Colin Young, revealed that it was a matter of the Belmopan City Council not paying in its employees’ contributions and that had put them in arrears. In fact, the arrears had extended for so long (about a year) that the Reporter understands that it currently stands at over $100,000.

SSB sent an inspector to assess the case and discovered that the non-payment was no fault of the employee and that it was the Council which had not been paying in to SSB. Hence, so as not to disenfranchise the employee, SSB decided to assign the contributions due to the employee, revised the claim and make the benefit claim to the person.

“At the point of assessment, the contributions that were due to that employee is then assigned to the employee…and then our business is then with the employer,” Dr. Young told us.

The case of the Belmopan City Council is not confined to only that institution, the SSB official shared with us. Over the past few years, other municipal governments have also not paid in their employees’ contributions to time. Those contributions include what the employer is required to pay for its employees as well as the deductions from the employees’ salaries. This is what happens in every case when an employer falls into arrears and their employees claim for sickness benefits, he added.

Dr. Young said other municipal administrations have fallen behind in recent years and quite a few private companies and businesses as well, he explained. After two months of non-payment, SSB initiates action, usually a court summons to get them to pay. Invariably, the employers would then make arrangements to pay the arrears, but when they renege on the arrangement or refuse to pay, they are taken to court.

Dr. Young informed us during our conversation with him on Thursday, that Belmopan Mayor Khalid Belisle had advised him that the Belmopan City Council was going to settle its arrears by the close of the day, despite an arrangement they had to settle by July. This was likely prompted by the situation that arose with the employee whose sickness benefit application was declined initially.

In the case of city and town councils, there are high and low seasons for revenues, when they collect property taxes and trade license fees. Based on their individual low season, they would tend to fall behind on payments, the SSB CEO shared. But in the high seasons, they make lump sum payments.

To avoid these situations from recurring, Dr. Young shared, SSB has taken a decision to publish via social and formal media, the names of employers who are in arrears after two months. This would not only bring about a level of embarrassment to negligent employers, but would also give employees across the country an alert if their employers have not been paying in their contributions for them.

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