BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 10, 2019– An employee of the Belmopan City Council who had fallen ill and wanted to access some sick benefits from the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) got a rude awakening when a letter was dispatched from the Social Security Board on May 31, which informed the employee that “your claim for sickness benefits has been disallowed, since you did not satisfy the conditions for this benefit pursuant to the Social Security Act, Chapter 44 of the Laws of Belize.”
The letter went on to inform the employee, who has been in the employ of the Belmopan City Council for 4 years, that 0 contributions had been paid on his behalf. The letter was signed by Melissa Rhys of the SSB’s Belmopan branch office and was copied to the Belmopan City Council.
As problematic as this was for the employee who needed the medical attention, it was only the tip of the iceberg, as it would later be revealed that the Belmopan City Council had fallen into serious arrears to the tune of over $100,000.
This problem, however, is not only confined to the Belmopan City Council. Since the Belmopan City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Khalid Belisle, got that black eye, it was learned that other municipal bodies (notably, those controlled by the UDP) have not been paying in the contributions for their employees.
In an effort to address this problem, the Belize Social Security Board is now embarking on a new policy which will publicly shame employers who fail to make their contributions to the Social Security on behalf of their employees.
The Social Security Board will begin to publish in social and formal media, delinquent employers who fail to make the contributions on behalf of their employees. SSB will implement the policy so as to alert employees that their employers are not paying in their contributions.
In the case of the Belmopan City Council employee who wanted to access sick benefits, after the Social Security Board sent an inspector to look into the situation, it was determined that the employee was not at fault, so the person was able to access the sick benefits after all.
The Belmopan City Council had made arrangements to settle its outstanding social security debt in July, but Mayor Belisle reportedly wants to settle the arrears earlier.
Last May, it was revealed that the Belize City Council, under the stewardship of UDP Mayor Darrell Bradley, had owed the Social Security Board around $77,000 in unpaid contributions that the present People’s United Party (PUP) mayor Bernard Wagner had to make arrangements to pay off.