A decision to require non-Bermudian employees to have a pension was meant to be a flagship policy to help Bermudians get jobs, so why has the Finance Minister done a U-turn, according to the Shadow Minister of Finance.
That was One Bermuda Alliance MP Patricia Gordon-Pamplin’s reaction to the notice published by the Ministry of Finance on the decision to delay relevant sections of the National Pension Scheme which would otherwise require non-Bermudian employees to be enrolled in a registered plan.
In that notice, the Ministry said: “The Minister of Finance has decided to delay relevant sections of the National Pension Scheme [Occupational Pensions] Amendment Act 2019 which would otherwise require non-Bermudian employees (unless exempted) to be enrolled in a registered plan.
“The Minister has taken this decision after consultation with the Pension Commission and representatives from the private sector, in order to permit further solutions to be provided, for example, to accommodate existing plans already established for non-Bermudians in overseas jurisdictions, by employers in Bermuda.
“This extension of time will assist all parties in better accommodating the Government’s policy objectives of ensuring that there is a level playing field between all employees and their respective employers, regardless of their nationality.”
The statement concluded: “The Minister looks forward to receiving further recommendations from the public and private sector representatives resulting from their continued dialogue.”
In follow up to that notice, Ms Gordon-Pamplin said: “A decision to require non-Bermudian employees to have a pension was meant to be a flagship policy to help Bermudians get jobs, so why has the Finance Minister done a U-turn?
“He says he has ‘taken this decision after consultation with the Pension Commission and representatives from the private sector’. When policies are determined that impact companies to the point of legislation being passed, it would seem appropriate that consultation would come first, not after the event.
“We warned that this measure could push some businesses, who are already struggling, over the edge. While we support schemes to encourage Bermudian employment, there is not much point if those schemes are going to force Bermudian business to close.
“This is an embarrassing U-turn for the Burt Government and yet another example of poorly thought out policy and legislation – the sugar tax and legislation that increased private health insurance being two others.
“The Minister must now quickly decide what his next step is. This will cause yet more uncertainty and businesses hate uncertainty.”