A contribution is payable in respect of any week or part of a week in which a person is employed. The employer is liable to pay the total contribution due, both his or her own share and the share deducted from the employed person's salary.
Deduction from Earnings
The employer has the right to recover the employed person's share of the contribution but only by deduction from earnings at the time they are paid for the period for which the contribution is payable. If the employer fails to make such deduction at the time the earnings are paid, he or she has no right to recover the employee's share at a later date.
The employer's portion of the contribution is to be paid by the employer. An employer who recovers or attempts to recover the employer's share of the contribution from the employee is guilty of an offense under the Act.
Employee Not Receiving Remuneration
Where an employed person performs work for which he/she does not receive any income, the employer is not entitled to recover from the employed person the latter's share of the total contribution. Such employment must be notified to the Board, who will determine the amount of contribution payable having regard to earnings normally derived from similar employment.
Contributions Erroneously Paid
When a contribution has been paid in error, application for refund may be made to Social Security within 2 years from date of payment. Refund to the Employer is credited towards future payment.
Retired Persons 60 years to under 65 years
If a retired person who is 60 years or more but under 65 years continues working, a flat rate of $2.60 will be paid to Social Security by the employer only.
Persons Attaining 65 years
A contribution is payable for the whole of the contribution week in which a person attains 65 years. However, if the 65th birthday falls on a Monday, the regular contribution is not payable for that week. In the event that the person continues working, a flat rate of $2.60 per week will be paid by the employer only. The employee is then covered for Employment Injury and Prescribed Diseases only.
Contribution During Leave (from work)
Contributions are payable for the period during which an employee is on holiday and receives remuneration, whether such remuneration is paid before, during, or after the holiday.
Contribution During Period of Incapacity
Contribution is not payable in respect of any week -
- In which an employed person does not work and receives no remuneration; or
- For each week (Monday to Sunday) during which an employed person is receiving Injury Benefit, Sickness Benefit, or Maternity Allowance (periodical payment before and after childbirth) under the Social Security Scheme. During that period, the required contribution will be paid on behalf of the insured contributor by the Social Security Board.
Wages Paid in Lieu of Notice
When wages are paid in lieu of notice, the employer is not liable for the payment of contribution for any week after the employment has come to an end.
Late Payment of Contributions
Failure to pay contribution within the prescribed time also makes the employer liable to be surcharged on all late contributions at the rate of $1.00 per week or part of a week for each employee for the period that the contribution remains outstanding. Assessed contributions accrue interest of ten percent per annum.
When the Inspector inspects an employer’s payroll and finds that contributions have not been paid or paid in full, an assessment will be raised and the late-interest charge levied. The amount due is to be paid immediately, or interest is levied at ten percent per annum (minimum $5.00) on the assessed contributions until the amount due is paid. After two weeks, if the assessed contributions are not paid legal action will be taken. The employer may visit the Social Security office and make a satisfactory arrangement to settle the amount due.
The Social Security Board/Inspector may find out about amounts receivable by the employer from a third party. Instead of serving a summons on the employer, a Garnishment Order is served on the third party, the person or entity that is indebted to the employer, so that the said receivables may be paid to Social Security to cover the employers’ liability for contributions.
The Garnishment Order is issued in accordance with Statutory Instrument No. 92 of 1994. The receipt issued by Social Security under this Instrument is a good and sufficient discharge of the original debt of the person or entity to the employer.
There are times when a summons must be served on a delinquent employer. Social Security provides the Revenue Court with the particulars of the delinquent employer, the court sets a date and the Inspector (designated Special Constable by the Commissioner of Police) serves the summons. On the date of the hearing of the case, the Inspector represents the Chief Executive Officer of the Social Security Board. (So far, Social Security has won 99 percent of its cases.) The employer accepts liability and promises to either pay in full or pay by installments. There are times when the court rules that the amount owed must be paid, or in default, distress action can be taken.
Distress is usually action of last resort. In the Districts, a Police Officer accompanies the Inspector to the premises of the non-compliant Employer and “crow-foot” certain fixed assets if they are too large to move at the time of the visitation. This crow footing is a physical indication of the Board’s intent to confiscate the chosen items. The employer then has seven days in which to settle his pending contributions or the items will be auctioned.
In Belize City, the judgment is passed to the Court Bailiff. The Bailiff will remove the valuables from the employer’s premises and pass them to the premises of Social Security. If the employer does not settle within seven days, actions for auctioning are commenced by an auctioneer chosen by Social Security.
Fine on Conviction
An employer who fails to pay contributions or to pay them within the prescribed time is guilty of an offense, and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $500.