Step by Step Guide on Unemployment
In order to register for the unemployment benefit which is paid for a maximum of six months, one must qualify by meeting a number of requirements.
Qualifying for Unemployment Benefit
To qualify for the unemployment benefit, one must:
- have been insured for at least 52 weeks.
- have at least 20 contributions paid or credited in the 3 consecutive quarters ending with the quarter but one before that in which unemployment began.
- have at least 7 contributions paid or credited in the relevant quarter, which is one quarter preceding the contribution quarter in which the unemployment commenced.
Registering for Unemployment
A person who becomes unemployed should report to the Unemployment Section at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building, corner of Collymore Rock and Culloden Road, St. Michael, Barbados or at such other place as may be determined by the Director, National Insurance Office, to complete a claim form. Persons claiming benefits are no longer required to register at the Barbados Employment and Career Counselling Service in Warrens, St. Michael.
You must submit your claim within two (2) weeks of becoming unemployed. Failure to do so may result in the loss of a portion of the unemployment benefit.
Please note that you can submit your claim even if your employer has not given you a Termination of Services/ Lay Off Certificate (green form).
Under normal circumstances, persons who continue to register for the unemployment benefit are issued with a Claimant Card for Unemployment Benefit (yellow card) which is stamped every three weeks for renewal at the Unemployment Section. However, given the current COVID-19 situation, a new process has been implemented. Persons are now required to complete and submit the Declaration and Re-employment Form online. Please follow the instructions below:
- Go to NIS website www.nis.gov.bb
- At the top of the homepage, click link which applies.
- Download form, print, complete and sign the form
- Scan the fully completed and signed form.
- Also, scan your Termination of Services/ LayOff Certificate (green form).
- Email the scanned copy to: employeeU3forms@bginis.gov.bb
- Take a photo of the fully completed and signed form
- Also, take a photo of your Termination of Services/ LayOff Certificate (green form).
- Email the photo to employeeU3forms@bginis.gov.bb
Alternatively, you can submit the completed form to a drop box located at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building, corner of Collymore Rock and Culloden Road, St. Michael.
Please ensure that your address, telephone numbers and your e-mail address are correct.
Additional Unemployment Details
- If you continue to be unemployed, you MUST renew your registration for the unemployment benefit by completing and submitting the Declaration and Re-employment Form online every three (3) weeks as required.
- Each day you claim the benefit, you are declaring that on the said day:
- You did no work and received no remuneration
- You were able and willing to do any suitable work but you were not able to find any; and you were not out of the island
- If you make any false statement or give false information for the purpose of obtaining the benefit, you may be prosecuted and liable on conviction to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for six months or both.
- If you fail to submit a claim on the day and the time indicated above, you may lose a portion of the unemployment benefit.
Calculation of Unemployment Benefit
The daily rate of unemployment benefit is 60% of the insured person’s average insurable weekly earnings, divided by 6.
Average insurable weekly earnings means the sum of the insurable earnings on which contributions, (paid or credited) were based over the continuous period of the quarter but one before the contribution quarter in which unemployment began or is deemed to have begun, divided by 13.
Two or more periods of unemployment which are not separated by more than thirteen (13) weeks are treated as one continuous period of unemployment starting on the first day of the first period of unemployment, and the rate of benefit payable for the whole period is the rate payable during the first period of unemployment.
Payment of Unemployment Benefit
The unemployment benefit is payable for each day of unemployment, excluding Sundays, as long as unemployment continues, subject to a maximum of 26 weeks in any continuous period of unemployment; or for an aggregate of 26 weeks in the 52 weeks immediately preceding the commencement of the current week of unemployment.
A person who becomes unemployed should report to the Unemployment Section at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, Barbados or at such other place as may be determined by the Director, National Insurance Office, to complete a claim form and register at the Barbados Employment and Career Counselling Service.
Where an insured person has exhausted entitlement to the unemployment benefit, that person shall not be entitled to another such benefit until the expiration of 52 contribution weeks from the last week in respect of which benefit was paid.
The first three (3) days of a period of unemployment are treated as “waiting days’’. Unemployment benefit is not payable for these days unless the period of unemployment lasts for two (2) weeks or more.
Unemployment benefit is not payable for any period spent out of the island nor for any period more than 2 weeks from the initial date of registration at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building, Collymore Rock, St. Michael, Barbados. Subsequent visits to the Unemployment Section every three weeks which allow for continued payment of benefit are no longer required. Claimants have to complete and submit the Declaration and Re-employment Form online via the website: www.nis.gov.bb.
Short Week (Short time) & Unemployment Benefit
The National Insurance Board will give those on short weeks 60 per cent of their earnings for those days. For example, if a person is placed on a three-day week, then the Board will pay 60 per cent of the wages the person would have earned for the other two days.
Unemployment short-time is paid only if the current weekly earnings are less than 50% of the average weekly earnings in the relevant quarter.
- Relevant quarter = JULY TO SEPTEMBER 2019
- Total earnings in relevant quarter = 3122
- Average weekly earnings = $240.15
- HALF AVERAGE WEEKLY EARNINGS — $120.08
- Based on this, if the claimant worked for less than 120.08 in any week, she is entitled to short time for that week
- In week commencing 23.03.2020, she earned $65.00, therefore she is entitled to short–time.
SHORT TIME CALCULATION for week commencing 23.03.2020 (and any other week for which the claimant earned $65.00)
- Take away earnings paid for the week during which the claimant worked from the average weekly earnings in the relevant quarter 240.15 – 65.00 = $175.15 = average weekly short time earnings
- Calculate 60% of the difference (from (1) above175.15*60% = $105.09 = weekly short time benefit rate —The weekly benefit rate is paid for any week, Monday to Saturday, during which the claimant earned less than half his average weekly earnings
Self-employed & Unemployment
Self-employed persons are not eligible for unemployment benefit and are therefore not required to contribute towards the Unemployment Fund
Reminder to Employers on the Submission of Termination of Services/Lay Off Certificate
Employers are required to complete form U-3 Termination of Services/Lay Off Certificate in duplicate as soon as the employee’s services are terminated or the employee is laid off.
The certificate must be given to the insured person and the duplicate sent to the National Insurance Office. This form contains information vital to the computation of the employee’s Unemployment Benefit.
Employers are reminded to provide employees with a Termination of Services/Lay-off Certificate on the date of termination and submit a copy to the National Insurance Office within one week of the date of the termination.
A Termination of Services/Lay-off Certificate must be given to the employee even if he/she was only employed for a day or part thereof.
Pursuant to Regulation 47 (5) of the NIS Benefit Regulations, an employer who contravenes or fails to comply with the requirements of this regulation (provision of the termination certificate) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $1,000 or, where the offence consists of continuing the contravention or the failure after conviction thereof, $1,000 together with a further $200 for each day on which the offence is continued.
How to Inform the National Insurance Office, if a Claimant Becomes Re-employed
Under normal circumstances, the claimant was required to complete the Employment Details on the Claimant Card for Unemployment Benefit (yellow card) and submit this to the Unemployment Section. Given the current situation with COVID-19, the claimant should write to the Director, National Insurance Office, stating that he/she was re-employed, found employment with any employer, name of employer or started self-employment.