Saturday, August 26, 2017
Effective October 1, 2017, it will be mandatory for the more-than-300 registered private security companies to make salary deductions on behalf of security guards in their employ, to facilitate the self-contributory health insurance scheme that was announced in November 2016.
Executive Director of the Private Security Regulation Authority (PSRA), Rosalyn Monteith Campbell, explained to JIS News that this became necessary because, of the approximately 4,000 guards who have registered under the scheme, only 402 have been fully paid up to allow the insurance to commence. According to Mrs. Monteith Campbell, the scheme, which was launched eight months ago and was scheduled to become effective in April 2017, only got off the ground in July. “The PSRA has been facilitating the process, while we try to work with the companies generally to do the salary deductions to allow for the constant payment to ensure that the scheme is viable; however, this has been a difficulty,” she said. Therefore, the decision has been taken by the Board of Directors of the PSRA, and mandated by Government, that salary deductions in relation to the health insurance for the private security industry, specifically the security guards, will be mandatory. What this means is that when security companies go to renew their licences, and new companies are registering for the first time, they will be required to provide proof that all the security guards within their employment have health insurance.
“They need to provide that proof in order for their licence to operate to be renewed, or for new companies to be registered,” Mrs. Monteith Campbell said. She pointed out that the guards have expressed that they want the monies to be deducted from their salary, but the companies have been reluctant to support the process. What the PSRA has done, in the interim, is set up an account for guards to deposit their payments. “Also, the PSRA has been collecting money at our office to facilitate the start-up of the process. This is not practical, and it is also an administratively uncomfortable situation for us to handle,” Mrs. Monteith Campbell said.
She explained that most of the companies treat their guards as contract workers, and so they are afraid of the process, which got worse when the tax arrangements were announced by the Government. The tax arrangements are related to a contributory scheme, with employer and employee making a contribution. This is 100 per cent self-contributory by the beneficiary. Therefore, security companies are being assured that there will be no general consumption tax (GCT) liability, by virtue of the fact they will be deducting on behalf of their employees. The PSRA is a statutory body under the Ministry of National Security charged with the responsibility to monitor and regulate all stakeholders in the private security Industry.