Pension holiday rolls on for six more months

| 18/06/2021 | 47 Comments

(CNS): Government has confirmed that Cabinet has agreed to a six month extension to the National Pensions Act to extend the freeze on the mandatory requirement for private sector workers and their employers to pay into a pension scheme. The holiday was introduced by the previous government more than one year ago as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent economic slowdown and closure of the tourism sector. The PPM administration had allowed people to take cash out of their pension and stop paying in until the pandemic played out. PACT has confirmed that the freeze on payments will now continue until 31 December.

While neither employers nor employees will be required to make mandatory contributions, voluntary payments can be made if there is an agreement between them. Premier Wayne Panton made the announcement at Wednesday’s press briefing after he hit back at criticisms by former premier Alden McLaughlin that the PACT Government was doing nothing about the pension issue and would let the deadline pass without addressing it.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Panton said. “I am happy to confirm that my government has agreed to extend the pension holiday until December.”

In addition to the holiday freeze, the PPM government had allowed private sector workers to withdraw money from their pension funds to help them through the fallout from the pandemic in the absence of any government funded payment scheme. While some money was clearly remitted overseas, much of it was also injected into the domestic economy, which, together with the largely unimpacted offshore financial services sector, has kept Cayman afloat over the last year.

Finance Minister Chris Saunders, who was in opposition when that decision was made, had supported the move but warned that government would have to address the issues created by the withdrawal and the continued freeze on payments. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly last October, he presented a motion to establish a committee to examine the current pension regime, but it was rejected by the Unity government

“We need to accept that the changes that we have made have added to the challenges and we are duty bound to fix it,” Saunders has said about the amendments to the Pensions Law. On the campaign trail he had also pressed the need to address this issue as a priority if he was elected. He is now at the helm of the labour department but has not yet revealed how he plans to address the issue.

As with the previous pension holidays, government owned companies and statutory authorities are excluded from the order.

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Category: Economy, Local News, Politics

Comments (47)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wayne just kicking Alden’s can further down the road. When this finally comes home to roost it will be someone else’s problem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Imagine screwing up your pension because the government can’
    t form some kind of stimulus for it’s citizens.

    What’s the point of calling yourself a public servant when you can hardly carry out your duty when your citizens need you the most during a pandemic.

    When a number of people are being let go or furloughed for something that was completly out of there control, then coming up with the splendid idea of screwing their pension because of your own failures as a government.

  3. Anonymous says:

    My business operated at a loss for April, May, June, and July. I was thankful for the break from pension payments.

    By September when we got back on our feet payments resumed.

    The pension holiday should now only be offered to companies directly negatively effected by the lack of a Tourism Industry

  4. Say it like it is. says:

    Of course all the thousands of civil servants and SAGC employees are totally unaffected by this. It’s easy to severely deplete someone else’s pensions when yours is completely protected and you can retire in comfort.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This policy might work.
    The accumulated This policy might work.
    Deposit the pension amounts in a separate savings account in any local deposit taking institution of the beneficiary’s choice and who should gets to decide what to invest in, – myriad of possibilities await. People should and have enjoy their savings while they are alive.
    Expatriates should have full access to their savings once employment is terminated, the law needs to be undone.
    Relieve small and medium size companies of this unnecessary burden.
    To make changes we have to understand the process to identify that which is not working

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Mandatory” contributions. Maybe PACT should Google that word.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile, record business profits and savings loss for those keeping the lights on. Terrible public messaging to penalize the employees that are literally the engine of this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Complete BS. All this does is screw employees out of pension money that their employers would otherwise be obligated by law to pay. This shouldn’t be applicable for any financial services firm. The employee should have the option to decide if they want to receive their contribution to their pension or not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too bad you work for such a greedy employer. Mine pays their regular pension obligation to the pension provider and adds what would have been my contribution to my pay. This could go on forever as far as I am concerned. I am saving and I investing more money now than at any time in my life!

    • Anonymous says:

      Rest assured some have been offering that from the beginning.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our firm is still paying staffs pensions, they have the option to contribute if they wish.

      I would hope that all financial services co are doing the same, 21 has been the business year for us so far.

    • Anonymous says:

      They do have the choice. Any employee can request that pension payments continue.

    • Anonymous says:

      They do. If an employee decides to keep contributing then the employer must do the same for them. Employee choice. If you still have your job then I suggest to keep contributing. Especially in the financial services.
      I did it so I know it is possible.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Come on Mr. Saunders, please advocate for another pension withdrawal since the government has no money. It doesn’t have to be as much as the last draw, but it would come in handy for so many. Maybe cap it at $10k (KYD) this time for those who will still have money left.

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially because the last time I checked, my account had already recovered half of what I withdrew with no contributions being made, i.e. through trading by the managers alone. If that’s the case for me, it’s the case for a lot of people. That’s basically free money that wasn’t generated by any activity here but could be released into the local economy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Continuing the holiday made sense for tourism industry workers but is a terrible mistake for almost everyone else. The Caymanian people will have to make up the shortfall when hundreds of extra people do not have enough in their retirements.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Pay cut for another 6 months…geez thanks CIG. Why not make it optional at agreement of employer/employee?

    • Anonymous says:

      Be grateful for a paycheck these days.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m grateful I went to Uni in Fl and came back and got a financial service job and didn’t have to rely on handouts for not being able to do tourism work for the usual half day.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is optional. My employer asked us if we wanted to continue usual contributions as AVCs or utilise the pension holiday. We each individually got to decide. If your employer is doing otherwise, you have a bad employer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your employer is an exception… the employer can refuse to contribute

      • Anonymous says:

        you don’t know what you are talking about…it is optional for each the employer and/or the employee to contribute…slimy pos employers are saving themselves 5% a year.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is optional. I took the option to keep contributing.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good news for the “locally owned” restaurants that the Government has chosen to support….

  13. Georgia Bodden says:

    Does Alden understand that he is NOT the Premier now? Someone should tell him.

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