NSSA relief for employers
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) has given relief to employers by deferring payment of increased levies to June 1 instead of the beginning of the year to cushion companies negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
This comes after the government gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 108 of 2020 which increased the Nssa contribution rate Pension and Other Benefits Scheme (POBS) by two points from seven to nine percent as well as an upward review of the pensionable income from $700 to $5 000.
This meant that employers and employees would contribute to the scheme at 4,5 percent each, with the maximum income that can be subjected to contribution pegged at $5 000.
“While the fund has been struggling to balance between the interests of beneficiaries and the sustainability of the scheme, we have, however, resolved not to backdate implementation to 1 January 2020 considering the negative impact of Covid-19 on businesses and employees. Implementation will be with effect from June 1.
“These are challenging times and we want to see industries thrive and jobs preserved as this will benefit both employees and employers. We do not want industries to collapse, neither do we want to see massive job losses,” Nssa acting general manager Arthur Manase said.
Manase added the reforms were necessitated by the need to align Nssa schemes to prevailing economic conditions, as the organisation was under increasing pressure from pensioners and beneficiaries to offer better pay-outs.
He further indicated that the last reforms implemented by Nssa were in 2013 when the contribution rate was reviewed from six to seven percent and the pensionable income upped from $200 at $700. Since 2013 the authority made several reviews on the level of benefits, without addressing the income side of the business, which include the awarding of a discretionary bonus equivalent to a month’s pension to all pensioners in July 2019.
Meanwhile, NSSA’s Accident Prevention and Workers Compensation Scheme was also amended through SI 109 of 2020 to include a clause that provides additional assistance to grossly disabled pensioners.
“SI 109 basically formalises the authority’s Project Dzimba that was launched in 2018 to address the same problem. To date Nssa has constructed 96 homes for paraplegic and quadriplegic pensioners in all provinces in the country,” Manase said.