The Dominica Social Security is claiming responsibility for the idea to create a temporary unemployment benefit for its members affected by Covid19.
The Hon Minister for Finance and Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit announced this past weekend that $8 million from the Social Security plus an initial $9.5 million from government will serve as the funding source of relief payments to those who financially-challenged.
Following that announcement, decried by the Opposition as a “raid” on DSS funds, Hon Skerrit defended the decision.
Janice Jean Jacques-Thomas, Director of Dominica Social Security, spoke for the organisation on Tuesday evening, adding that the organisation made the proposal to protect its members as is its mandate.
“The Dominica Social Security, as the major pillar of Dominica’s social protection mechanism and like almost all other social security systems within CARICOM, felt it necessary to take action to recommend a measure that would provide a level of income relief to insured persons who have been displaced from work…due to the coronavirus,” Jean Jacques-Thomas said.
She adds that the organisation made the decision to introduce a temporary unemployment benefit based on professional advice from the International Labour Organisation and the law firm of Morneau Shepell
She revealed that the ILO recommended the unemployment benefit while the human resource service company of Morneau Shepell advised the Caribbean that “it is possible and feasible” to create such a benefit during a recession “without prior funding or additional contributions.”
“Thus, with the assistance of an actuary from the firm of Morneau Shepell,” she explained, “Dominica Social Security received support and advice on how this could be accomplished without jeopardizing the sustainability of the fund.”
The $8 million which represents just under half of the total sum of $16.5 million relief package will come from the Redundancy Fund and the Employment Injury branch of the DSS.
The Social Security says this employment benefit will be a temporary offering once the legal framework is created.