Long Service Gratuity Scheme launched, first recipients presented with checks

Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the long service of a worker with an employer must mean more than a mere memory.

Speaking at the official launching of the New National Minimum Wage and the Long service Gratuity Scheme Wednesday, Prime Minister Douglas noted that on July 29th 2013,the country’s laws were amended to ensure that any person who has worked for one employer for ten years or more would be entitled to a gratuity should they decide to leave that company.

“The Government is also committed to ensuring that the people of this country are protected when they decide that the time has come to move to another company, to start their own small business, or to devote their time and energy to some matter that is of special importance to their families. When an employee has been with one employer for ten years or more, we do not feel that they should have to walk away with only a smile and a handshake – in the event that they decide to leave that employer,” said Prime Minister Douglas, during a ceremony on the Ebenezer Edmeade Street at the C.A. Paul Southwell Industrial Estate.

He added: “If they have worked for one employer for ten years or more and die in the course of their employment, we do not feel that their families should be left with no consideration vis-à-vis the long service that their deceased relative provided to that company. Indeed, when an employee decides to retire, having reached retirement age, we think that they should be entitled to a long service gratuity as well.”

Prime Minister Douglas said the action of his caring Labour Party Administration has brought the workers in the private sector on the same level with workers of the public sector as was done that a few years ago.

“I say may this legislation bring relief to the minds of workers all across this country. May this legislation bring greater security to families large and small. May this legislation make new starts, long hoped for but heretofore never affordable, possible,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He said the long service gratuity will be paid out of the Severance Payment Fund and the Ministry of Labour is available to provide very clear guidelines as to who is eligible for the long service gratuity, and the procedure via which one applies for the long service gratuity.

“In all circumstances, and in all areas of life, it is important to understand the rules and regulations that pertain to the situation at hand,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

He urged those workers who might be interested in benefitting from this important benefit to take the time to understand the rules and understand the specific regulations, “so that when you move forward you will be doing so on an informed basis.”

During the ceremony, symbolic checks were presented by Prime Minister Douglas and the Minister of Labour, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett to several of the over 30 persons who retired from the tourism and manufacturing sectors.

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