‘Pension holiday’ trial date set

Local company faces 29 charges

 Trial has been set to start on Sept. 8 for Saoirse Holdings Ltd., a company facing 29 charges of making false representations on work permit applications. 

The issue is the “pension holiday” and whether the people named in the charges agreed to the holiday, defense attorney Clyde Allen told Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn on Monday. 

The pension holiday came into effect in April 2010 after legislators amended the National Pensions Law in effort an to ease costs to businesses and give residents working in the private sector more spending money, the Caymanian Compass reported at the time. 

When the Legislative Assembly approved the pension suspension, it set a time limit of 12 months on the ‘holiday’ period for Caymanians and 24 months for non-Caymanian workers. If an employee wanted to take part in the pension holiday, both the worker and his employer had to agree to the suspension period. Once enacted, the worker would get 5 per cent of his salary usually paid into a retirement savings account in his paycheck. The employer would then keep its 5 per cent matching contribution for the suspension period, rather than pay that amount into the worker’s account. 

The charges against Saoirse allege that the company falsely purported on work permit applications that several employees were or were intended to be enrolled in a pension plan. A case summary on the court file indicated that inquiries with the Pensions Office showed 16 employees required by law to have coverage were not registered. The charges relate to various dates in 2010, 2011 and 2012. 

On Monday company director Harry Lalli entered pleas of “not guilty” to all charges on behalf of the company. 

With the Summary Court trial diary filling up through next summer and Mr. Allen’s schedule, the September date was the first two-day slot available. The matter will be mentioned again on May 12 to ensure that no other preliminary issues need to be dealt with.