About - Before the Social Security Scheme

Social security schemes in Barbados and other English-speaking Caribbean countries began as fairly comprehensive programmes similar in scope and coverage to those in larger countries.

Find out more in the timeline below.

1880 – Poor Law Relief Act Organized through church wardens, poor relief committees and poor law inspectors, it provided relief in cash and kind

1916 – Workmen’s Compensation Act From this time, employers were to pay compensation to any workmen who received a personal injury by accident at work

1928 – Widows’ & Orphans’ Pension Act A contributory widows’ and orphans’ pension scheme was set up for male public servants. Four per cent was deducted from the salaries of contributors but those who failed a medical examination of fitness were not allowed to contribute

1938 – Pensions Act Prompted by inadequacies of the Poor Relief System but, because applicants had to go through a means test that was rigidly administered, few qualified

1947 – Under the Pensions Act Pensions for public servants with ten or more years’ service and gratuities for those with less service were granted. They received pensions on retirement, normally at age 60, though in some cases persons retired after reaching age 55. These pensions were paid out of government revenue

1955 – Sugar Workers’ Provident Fund Provided benefits for retired and displaced sugar workers and for the widows and other dependents of deceased workers. Certain sugar workers received a modest pension on retirement and a funeral grant on their death. But they made no actual payment towards the fund.