Today’s Editorial for February 26: The pension problem

A report from the National Pensions
Board, the release of which has been delayed or possibly suppressed for two
years, was finally made public Wednesday in the Legislative Assembly.

Not surprisingly, the report stated
there has been widespread non-compliance with the payment of mandatory pension
payments by employers.

What was surprising was the blame
the report levelled on Cayman’s attorney general and the court system in
failing to expeditiously prosecute cases of non-compliance.

The non-compliance of the law by
employers with regard to pension and health insurance payments has become
something of a punch line to old joke.  Despite
just about everyone knowing what is happening, nothing really is being done to
correct a situation which, in many cases, should amount to theft.

When an employer deducts money for
health insurance or pension from an employee’s pay and then doesn’t pay that
money over to an approved health insurance or pension provider, he or she is,
by all effects, stealing from that employee. 

We understand times are tough and
some employers are having difficulties paying their end of the health insurance
and pension payments.  But to subsidise
their operations with money deducted from employees is wrong, and should be punished
in a society based on law.

To ignore the problems, as has
happened for far too long, sends a very dangerous message and encourages the
exploitation of workers, especially those that are most vulnerable in our
society.

It also encourages criminal behaviour
by allowing offenders to break the law with immunity and punishes the
law-abiding employers by giving law-breakers a competitive advantage.

The time has come for lawmakers to
make decisions: either they should push for the proper enforcement of the laws
that exist or they should do repeal them.

The government is expected
to announce legislation indefinitely doing away with the requirements of paying
at least some of the private sector pensions. 
While we expect considerable debate on this issue, if the powers that be
aren’t prepared to hold non-compliant employers responsible under the provisions
of law, then that debate is a waste of time.

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