National Insurance Scheme – Serving without borders
The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is a compulsory contributory-funded social security scheme, which offers financial protection to the workers and their families against several incidentals (injury on the job, retirement, etc.).
Operating as a unit under the Ministry of Labour & Social Security, the NIS faces many challenges, as it operates at a national level. But there are so many benefits under the supervision of the NIS that the public aren’t aware of, which brings us into a brief exploration of the operations of the NIS.
Established in 1966, the NIS uses the National Insurance Act as its guide – which primarily encourages citizens between 18-70 years of age to contribute to the body and eventually reap the benefits they wouldn’t have found otherwise. With an aim to provide the best possible scheme satisfaction, the NIS provides a plethora of benefits which include: Maternity Allowance for domestic workers, Health Insurance, Retirement Pension, Special Child/Orphan Pensions and a host of others.
One aspect of the NIS is the reciprocal social security agreements, which allows for other nationals of partner countries to work in Jamaica and still benefit from their social security scheme. Undoubtedly, the process is reciprocated for Jamaicans living abroad – as annually the NIS pays out to thousands of contributors throughout the diaspora.
With an extensive operation, the NIS faces several challenges, but they have made strides to improve on their customer service. They have begun to undertake a series of changes, one of which is an update to the card (which now explains what the NIS is). Sensitizing the public and improving its technology is the next step, which will also comprise of introducing user-friendly systems.
NIS is also working towards revising its operations and established standards and reviewing its staffing. To measure contributors’ awareness, NIS will introduce a survey (to be executed every 2-3 years upon the receipt of funding) as a means of devising strategies to expand coverage of the labour force.