A: This area of law is governed by the National Insurance Act 1971, as amended.
Contributions are fixed weekly payments in relation to the wages/salaries of the employee (see table at the end). Payment of the contribution is shared between the employer and employee according to the rate set out in the Act. However, the EMPLOYER is responsible for paying the total contribution to the NIBTT.
The contributions for all employees (including paid apprentices, domestics and casual agricultural workers) and unpaid apprentices, are due from the start of their employment, apprenticeship or probationary period. This means that N.I.S. MUST be taken out from the first payment.
s.40 – There is a $4000 fine and six (6) months in prison if the employer does not pay the contributions.
s.30(1)(a) - EMPLOYER must apply for registration as employer within 14 days
How to Apply For Registration as an Employer
In order to register, an employer must complete the N.I. 1 Application form. All fields should be completed, but the following are mandatory:
- Name of Business or Company
- Address of Business or Company
- Mailing address
- Name, Title and Home Address of Owners/Partners/Directors, and Date of Ownership
- Address where pay records are kept
- Address where personnel records are kept
- Nature of Business
- Number of Employees/Unpaid Apprentices
- Date Business Started
- Date of hiring first employee
- Authorized Signature/Designation and Date of Application
s.30(1)(b) - New employer must apply for employee’s N.I.S. number after hiring the first employee.
s.30(2) – Within seven (7) days, the EMPLOYEE must provide the necessary details to allow the EMPLOYER to apply.
s.30(3) – The employer must also inform the employee within twenty-one (21) days of employment whether or not they have fulfilled their obligation in 1(a) and (b)
Who Must Be Registered?
Any employee who earns $180 or more per week. This includes a married woman employed by her husband. The contract of employment may be written or oral, expressed or implied. The apprenticeship may be paid or unpaid.
- Anyone employed in a professional capacity on a full-time basis, for which a salary is paid. This includes a Doctor at a hospital, a Priest, Pastor or Nun etc. who receive a salary of $180 per week or more.
- Anyone employed as a share fisherman or taxi driver or travelling salesman etc., where a contract allows for payment to be made on a share of earnings or profits.
- Anyone employed temporarily with a firm, business organization, government department or statutory body (e.g. student during vacation period, seasonal employment (i.e., Carnival).
- Persons paid based on commissions on sales, eg., Insurance agents or car salesmen who work on a full time basis and are paid by commission on sales.
- Foreign employees engaged in work in Trinidad & Tobago on a contract basis, or on work permits.
The exemptions of employees under s.29(2) are those earning less than $180/week and non-citizens.
s.30(6) – There is a $5000 fine for non-compliance with registration.
s.5(2) – Records of the employee and all contributions must be kept for seven (7) years. If this is not done, the penalty is a $5000 fine and three (3) months in prison.
s.45 - Where an employee has multiple employment, all employers must pay contributions on behalf of the employee.
REFUND FOR OVER-PAYMENT
s.16(3) – If the yearly total of the N.I.S. contribution is more than required, employees are entitled to a refund, but this is only done by request using the N.I. 79 Form.