Department of Labour Resolves Most Gratuity Fund Cases

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 30, 2016 (SKNIS): The Department of Labour is reporting success in resolving a number of backlogged cases under the Severance Fund and the Long Service Gratuity Fund.

In May of this year, Senior Minister and Minister of Labour, Honourable Vance Amory, said the gratuity scheme was not properly managed under the former administration. However, he said that under his purview, a number of claims, some as far back as 2009 were in the process of being resolved.

This week, Acting Commissioner in the Department of Labour, Shernel James, said “we have looked at the long service gratuity, we have sought to clear up those cases that had ambiguous issues and we have paid out a number of funds.

This is in keeping with a promise made by Senior Minister Amory to have cases resolved as soon as possible.

“We had about 50 cases outstanding. To date we have resolved about 80 percent of those,” she said. “Of course we have new cases coming in almost on a daily basis but you know the process in accordance with the act is three months so we have to give each case due diligence.

In July 2013, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis amended the Protection of Employment Act to include the legislated Long Service Gratuity wherein persons who would have contributed ten (10) years or more of continuous service to the same workplace can opt to retire or resign and receive a Gratuity.

Once a valid application for Long Service Gratuity is made and the Labour Commissioner is satisfied that it has met all the necessary requirements he or she shall authorize the payment of the Long Service Gratuity and ensure that the payment is made within a period of 90 (ninety) days. The long service gratuity fund is payable out of the Severance Payment Fund and such gratuity is calculated at the same rate as Severance Payment.

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