Social Security is described as a social insurance not a charitable institution. The Social Security Board (SSB) is an organization that provides financial services to insured persons residing in Belize. As long a person is working, contributions are collected from the employer.
According to Social Security (Collection of Contributions) Regulations, 1980, the word ‘earnings’ means gross earnings, which includes:
- Overtime payments
- Cost of living bonus
- Allowance or payment in respect of dependents
- Long service or efficiency payments
- Production or incentive pay and service charges
- Commission on profits or sales
- Gratuities other that those paid once year
- Payments in respect of dirty or dangerous work
- Payments in respect of shift or night work
Any employer who made its contributions has already paid his or her share. 3.5% of the 7% of the insurable earnings paid in contribution goes to the Employment Injury Benefits Branch. Social Security offers the following benefits:
- Injury Benefit
- Medical treatment
- Travelling and subsistence
- Passage abroad (based on medical certificate)
- Disablement benefit (pension or grant)
- Constant attendance allowance (based on medical certificate)
- Death benefit (for survivors)
- Funeral Grant
- Maternity Allowance or Maternity Grant
- Retirement Pension or Grant
- Invalidity Pension or Grant
- Sickness Benefit
Contribution during Period of Incapacity
Payments on contribution are not applicable in any week:
- Where the employee does not accomplish its task, and where he or she does not receive any remuneration.
- Such as Monday to Saturday of each week during which an employed person is receiving injury benefit, sickness benefit, or maternity allowance, under the Social Security Scheme. During that period, the Social Security Board will pay the required contribution on behalf of the insured person.
*Employers are required to pay only two days leave, instead of three, in the case of sickness or injury suffered by your employee, if the period of incapacity is less than 14 days.
*The contributions withheld from the employee’s salaries, along with the employer’s portion are to be paid no later than fourteen (14) days after the end of the month. The employer will take an employee who is injured on the job, to the place of first medical treatment.
- Record all accidents or work-related disease allegedly suffered by your employees in an Accident File.
- Inform the Social Security Board on work-related accidents or suspected illnesses immediately via telephone, fax, or by other means.
- Ensure that the injured insured person is taken immediately to the nearest general practitioner for medical care – the employer is responsible for this transportation of injured person.
- Facilitate investigation of the claim by Social Security Inspector by providingin formation relevant to the accident and by allowing access to witnesses to the accident.
- If claim is disallowed the employee must pay for any medical bills incurred.
- All employers should registered within seven days from the starting date as an employer
- Every person at the age of fourteen (14) years and over, need to register as an insured person. They must have a Social Security Number.
The employer should keep a register to record the following:
- Complete name, address and social security number of each employee
- The dates when the employee started and stopped working.
- The date and amount of earnings an employee is being paid.
- The amount of weekly contribution being deducted from each employee’s earnings.
- Employees must check with the Social Security Office nearest to them at least once peryear to ensure that Social Security has their contributions recorded to their accounts.
- Employees should submit their claims to a Social Security Office as soon as the event oraccident occurs for example, accident on the job, illness, retirement at the age of 60 or 65 years and so on.
- Every benefit has its deadline for claiming, therefore, employees should make their claims as early as possible, not more than four (4) days or they could lose it.
Exceptions on Insurable Employment
- Casual employment
- Any job for less than eight hours in a week
- Occupation of a domestic worker for less than 24 hours in a week
- Employment of a person in the naval, military or air service of the crown
- Employment of a woman by her husband or vice versa.