Jamaica

Overview

Jamaica is a picturesque Caribbean island nation with rich reserves of natural resources. Bauxite mining, agriculture, and tourism are its most prominent industries. The government of Jamaica is committed to attract foreign investment, and currently, there are no industry sectors reserved for local investments. The country’s growing financial sector facilitates businesses the use of a wide range of instruments for credit expansion. Foreign trade is important for the Jamaican economy as the value of imports and exports add up to 78% of its GDP.

Currency: Jamaican Dollar (JMD)

Principal Languages: Jamaican Patois, Jamaican Standard English (JSE)

Government: Constitutional Parliamentary Democracy

Capital City: Kingston

Major Cities: Spanish Town, Portmore, Montego Bay, Mandeville

Employment Contracts

In Jamaica, an employment contract can be written or verbal. Individuals who offer their services come under one of the three types of contracts.

  1. Contract of Service – Under this contract, a worker is identified as an employee of the person or institution that hires their services. All statutory deductions apply for the employer and employee under this contract, and the employee receives all the benefits of regular employment including vacation leave, maternity leave, sick leave, and retirement benefits.
  2. Contract for Services – This contract assumes that individuals offering their services are running an independent unit (such as a business) and responsible for filing returns under a self-assessment system. Therefore, this is not the regular employer-employee relationship as the individuals offering services do not hold an integral position in the employer’s organization. Those individuals are, however, allowed to work with more than one employer or organization at a time.
  3. Contract for Personal Service – Verbal contracts in Jamaica are usually for personal services. It can be for services of a clerical, technical, administrative or managerial nature. Other than income tax and education tax, an individual is treated as a self-employed for other statutory deductions under this type of contract. While the payer (employer) is responsible for deducting income tax of a person under this contract, the individuals offering services under it need to pay education tax to Jamaica’s tax administration.

Work/Time Regulations

In Jamaica, the standard work schedule is 8 hours per day, and the standard workweek comprises 40 hours.

Overtime
Any work done beyond 8 hours per day or 40 hours in a week or any work done on a Sunday, holiday or rest day is called overtime.

Leave

Holidays

Employers need to give employees fully paid public holidays on the following days:

  • Jan. 1: New Year's Day
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Good Friday
  • Easter Monday
  • May 23: Labor Day
  • Aug. 1: Emancipation Day
  • Aug. 6: Independence Day
  • October: National Heroes' Day (Dates vary)
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day
  • Dec. 26: Boxing Day

Annual Leave
All employers need to give paid annual leave to employees at the following rates:

  • 1 day’s paid annual leave for every 22 days of work when an employee works more than 110 days but less than 220 days.
  • 2 weeks of paid vacation for employees working a minimum of 220 days.
  • 3 weeks of paid vacation for employees if they have worked 220 days or more for the last 10 years. 

Maternity Leave
Employers need to grant 52 weeks of maternity leave to pregnant employees. The maternity benefit paid to such an employee is 8 weeks of National Minimum Wage.

Paternity Leave
The law in Jamaica does not provide any provision for paternity leave.

Sick Leave
Employers are required to give employees who have served at least 110 days, one day’s paid sick leave per 22 days worked. After a year of employment, employers are required to give employees 2 weeks of paid sick leave per year. Sick leave is paid at the rate of an employee's regular remuneration.

Benefits

Old-Age Benefits

  • Qualifying Condition – Men and women of age 65 years with minimum 1,443 weeks of paid contributions, which includes an annual average of 39 weeks of paid or credited contributions.
  • Pension – The benefit amount that qualified persons of old age receive is J$2,400 per week in addition to J$0.06 a week for every J$13 of employer/employee contributions during the work tenure.
  • Lump Sum on Retirement – J$40,000 is paid as a lump sum.

Survivor Benefits

  • Survivor Pension – A survivor receives a basic benefit of J$2,400 a week if the deceased paid or got 39 weeks of contributions. If the average annual contributions are for 26 weeks to 38 weeks, the benefit amount gets reduced to J$ 1,800. The benefit is J$1,200 a week with 10 to 25 weeks of contribution. In addition to this amount, the survivor also receives J$0.06 a week for every J$13 of entire contributions paid during the tenure.
  • Survivor Settlement – A lump sum amount of J$ 40,000 is paid.
  • Remarriage Settlement – A year’s pension is paid as a lump sum amount.
  • Orphan’s Pension – For orphans younger than 18 years of age, J$ 4,200 a week is paid.
  • Orphan’s Settlement – J$ 48,000 a week is paid for orphans younger than 18 years.
  • Special Child's Benefit – Until a child reaches the age of 18 years, he or she receives J$ 4,200 a week. A lump sum of J$ 48,000 is paid in case the deceased mother did not qualify for a pension.
  • Funeral Grant – The person who pays for the funeral receives a lump sum of J$ 70,000.

Workers’ Compensation

  • Coverage – Includes employees in the age group of 18 to 70 for men, and 18 to 65 for women, but excluding unpaid family labor, military personnel, household workers, and self-employed persons.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits – J$ 3,200 is payable for up to 52 weeks but after an initial waiting period of 3 days.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits – At an assessed disability of 10%, J$ 320 is paid, up to J$ 3,200. The amount would correspond to the assessed degree of disability of up to 100%.
  • Workers’ Medical Benefits – The National Insurance Scheme provides a wide range of benefits for workers injured on the job. The rate at which these benefits are provided is decided by the relevant Ministry. The benefits include payment for treatment expenses, appliances, hospitalization, drugs and rehabilitation.
  • Survivor Benefits in the Case of Fatal Injury – A widow or widower of any age, and if there is no surviving spouse the guardian of children or a dependent mother aged 55 years or more, or surviving children are eligible for the survivor benefit. A lump sum of J$166,400 is payable to the survivor as the benefit.
  • Funeral Grant in the Case of Fatal Injury – Lump sum payment of J$70,000 to the person who bears full or part of the funeral expenses. This benefit is not payable if the death occurred when the employee was abroad.

How GPS can Help

With our Global PEO/Employer of Record services, companies can expand into Jamaica and hire their employees without having to establish a branch office or subsidiary in Jamaica.

  • Your candidate is hired via our Jamaica PEO. If needed, we can also help you find the right talent in any country with our comprehensive global staffing services.
  • Your new employee begins work quickly as we take care of employment contracts, statutory and non-statutory benefits, and running their payroll - all in full compliance with Jamaica laws.
  • Global PEO Services experts manage all day-to-day operational issues such as employee expenses, and severance/termination if required.
  • With no contractor risks, pass on the compliance burden to Global PEO Services.

Spin Off/M&A Support

  • Ensure continuity of payroll, benefits and HR support when acquiring or spinning off a business with employees overseas.

24/7 Support in 100+ Countries

  • Empower your teams with 24/7 support and a single point-of-contact model in which experienced client services directors are in continuous communication with information and advice.
  • We are backed by a mix of 300+ multidisciplinary experts from HR, Payroll, Finance, Tax, and Legal domains who are ready to respond to the expected and unexpected needs of your business on the shortest notice.

Easy Visibility into Your Employee Time & Attendance and Benefits Data
With our Global PEO, you get access to Mihi, our proprietary SaaS solution for time and attendance, vacation, leave management and benefits enrollment and management. Mihi enables clients to have easy access to employee data in real time. It is designed specifically for companies with a global workforce, especially when working in multiple countries with low headcount.

Ready for Growth When You Are
When ready, we can seamlessly transition you from the PEO/EOR model to your own legal entity and provide ongoing international HR, finance, legal, compliance and staffing support. Learn more about our end-to-end international expansion services.

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