Employer fined for pension offenses

12 months community service ordered

The owner of three businesses was fined $6,500 this week and ordered to perform 320 hours of community service after pleading guilty to 29 offenses against the National Pensions Law.

They included failure to have a pension plan or make pension contributions for 24 employees.

Barrington Oliver, 56, was charged trading as D & B Building Contractors, BJ’s Electronics SuperStore and Serenity Day Spa.

The charges were laid in 2014 and he entered guilty pleas in September, 2015. A social inquiry report showed that only one of the three businesses was still operating and Oliver had little money.

The D & B Building Contractors offenses related to three employees, for whom no pension plan was provided during different periods between August 2008 and October 2011.

The total amount that should have been paid into a pension plan was $21,641.93, Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson advised the court on a previous occasion.

For an employee who had worked less than one year, Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez imposed a fine of $1,000. For the two employees who had worked more than one year, she imposed fines of $2,000, for a total $5,000.

She noted, “Every effort must be made [to ensure] that employees receive the benefit of fines.”

The magistrate expressed concern that a great majority of the employees in the three businesses – who did not benefit as a result of the absence of the required pension plan – could not be located.

For failing to comply with a directive from the Supervisor of Pensions to pay past pension contributions, the magistrate ordered Oliver to do 80 hours of community service.

For 10 employees who worked at BJ’s Electronics during various periods between December 2008 and March 2014, the amount of pension payments that should have been made was $16,753.39. The longest-serving employee worked there four years.

The magistrate ordered Oliver to do another 120 hours of community service.

There were 11 charges of failing to pay a pension for employees of Serenity Day Spa, six of whom had worked there for a year or more and five who had worked less than a year. The amount owed was $10,222.05. The magistrate ordered another 120 hours of community service.

She directed that the total 320 hours be completed within 12 months.

Further charges of failing to comply with a directive of the Supervisor of Pensions attracted fines totalling $1,500.

Oliver was given various deadlines for paying the fines, the longest being 18 months for the $5,000.