All employers – whether individuals, sole proprietors, partnerships, companies or other corporations – are required to register with the National Insurance Office in order to obtain a registration number. That number is used as an identifier for National Insurance purposes. Once a number has been assigned, the employer would not be required to register again.
However, if there is a change of business name or address, please notify the National Insurance Office immediately. In the case of a change in business name, you are required to present the certificate from the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office as evidence of the change.
The employer must apply for registration by completing the Employer’s Registration Form . Companies are required to attach to the form, a certificate of incorporation with Articles of incorporation and names of directors included and/or a certificate of registration from the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office. The name of the Manager/Managing Director should also be stated on the Employer’s Registration Form.
Who is an Employee?
An employee means anyone in receipt of wages not less than the minimal insurance earning:
- under a contract of service, even if the employment is casual, parttime or temporary;
- engaged by an employer including, for example, sugar workers, domestic workers, transport employees and public servants.
Directors of limited liability companies who hold office within the company may also be classified as employees. However, such persons should seek to have their classification determined by the National Insurance Board.
All persons engaged in employment must be insured under the National Insurance and Social Security Act, Cap. 47. Section 12 of the Act, states that every person who is over 16 years of age and under pensionable age and is gainfully employed in the island under a contract of service must be insured under the Act. Section 14 of the Act states that all persons in insurable employment (regardless of age) shall be insured against personal injury caused by accident arising out of and in the course of such employment. Employed persons over pensionable age are therefore to be insured for employment injury benefit.
Generally speaking, nationality makes no difference and contributions must be paid in respect of each employee whether the employee is Barbadian or not. However, a person who does not reside in Barbados and has no place of business here will be treated as self-employed and those nationals of another territory employed in Barbados by the Government of that territory in a diplomatic or military capacity are not liable to be insured either as self-employed or as employed persons.
The general rule is that an employer must pay for each employee whether the employee is employed on a full-time basis or not.
There are, however, certain exceptions when an employer is not required to pay contributions on behalf of a part-time worker in any week in which:
the worker’s earnings, when calculated on a job, task or piece-work basis, amount to less than $21 in that week or $91 per month; or
the worker is employed for 20 hours or less and his earnings, if calculated by reference to time (i.e. by the hour, day, week) amount to less than $21 in that week.
Notwithstanding the exceptions above, an employer will be liable to pay contributions for an insured person for the week in which employment is terminated where this immediately follows a period in which contributions were payable.
Determination of Employment Status
The National Insurance Board has the power to decide on questions regarding:
- whether a person’s employment renders him/her liable to be insured;
- the class or category of insured persons in which a person should be included;
- who is liable for payment of contributions as the employer of the insured person.
There is no right of appeal against such decisions except on a point of law, in which case an appeal shall be made to the Supreme Court.
An employer who is uncertain as to the employment status of a worker should seek a determination from the National Insurance Board. An employee should not be referred to as a self-employed person, an employer who attempts to do this will be liable to pay both the employee and employer contributions, plus interest, for the prior periods where the employer refers to the worker incorrectly.
Who is an Employer?
An employer means any person employing one or more persons under a contract of service, whether expressed or implied, oral or in writing, and includes any agent, manager or representative of such person who is responsible directly or indirectly for the payment in whole or in part of remuneration of an employed person (National Insurance and Social Security Act, Cap. 47. Section 2 of the Act).
Employers must submit an application to the National Insurance Office for each worker who is required to be insured. In case of doubt, employers should seek assistance from the National Insurance Office.
Employers, on employing any person, except in a case where other arrangements have been made with the approval of the National Insurance Board, should obtain from the employee his National Insurance card in order to verify and enter the National Insurance number in the employee’s records.
In a case where the employer has not obtained the National Insurance card from the employee within seven days of employment, the employer must obtain the National Insurance number of that employee from the National Insurance Office within a further seven days.