MR Peter Hayibor, Head of the Legal Department of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), has disclosed that the minimum age of entry into the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is now 15 years while the maximum is 45.
He said even though persons 55 years and above are exempted from joining the scheme, they could opt to contribute until they reach the age of retirement.
Mr Hayibor was speaking at a workshop organised by the management of SSNIT for some 60 media practitioners in the Western Region.
He said the new National Pensions Act 766 of 2008, which was passed by Parliament and received presidential assent on December 4, 2008 and gazette notification on December 12, 2010, provides for pension reform in Ghana through the introduction of a three-tier pension scheme.
He named the three-tier scheme as First-Tier mandatory, defined to benefit the Basic National Social Security Scheme, Second-Tier mandatory, which is fully-funded and privately managed as an occupational pension scheme and the Third-Tier voluntary, which is fully-funded Voluntary Provident Fund and Personal Pension scheme.
He explained that the creation of the Three-Tier contributory systems, will replace the current parallel SSNIT Pension Scheme, and will bring about unification of all existing public schemes within a period of five years from the commencement of the Act.
Mr Hayibor further said under the new Act, workers are to make mandatory contributions of 5.5% whilst employers contribute 13%, totalling 18.5%.
Mr Hayibor indicated that since the Third-Tier is voluntary, no rate has been prescribed. However, he emphasised that a minimum contribution of 18.5%, which is equivalent of the national daily minimum wage, shall be deducted, adding that the failure of an employer to remit the contributions of an employee constitutes an offence.
In a welcoming address, Dr Prosper Ayisah, the Takoradi Area Manager, said under PNDC Law 247, SSNIT has the right to ensure that all manner of workers, including casual and contract staff in the country, benefited from the social security scheme.
Dr Ayisah, therefore, urged all employers in the private and public sectors to register all their workers with the scheme and start paying contributions on their behalf.
He said, “So far as there is an employer/employee relationship, and these workers earn income, they must be registered and be made to contribute to the scheme”.
Speaking on ‘Benefits Processing and Challenges,’ Mrs Rosemary A. Sackey, the General Manager, Benefits, enumerated some of the challenges faced by the Trust as non-registration of workers, delay in endorsement of worker registration forms, non-distribution of membership certificates, non-declaration of workforce and non-payment of contributions.
She said though payment of contribution for any particular month is to be made by the 14th of the ensuing month, employers, very often, fail to do so, thereby putting the scheme at risk.