Bermuda is a British territory in the western Caribbean Sea which is formed by a number of islands with a total area of 54 sq. km. The island has one of the highest per capita income in the world with an economy that is driven by tourism and offshore financial services for non-resident firms. The economy is entirely dependent on imports, with 80% of food imported. Bermuda is also a hub of international finance, especially in the insurance and reinsurance sectors. Tourism is the second most important sector with 85% tourist footfalls from North America.
Currency: Bermudian Dollar
Principal Language: English
Government: Constitutional Monarchy (British Overseas Territory)
Capital City: Hamilton
Major Cities: St. George, Stovel Bay, Cross Bay
The Employment Act that was passed in 2000 created a codified system of regulating employment relations in an employment contract. This contract can be implied, verbal or written that specifies the performance of certain duties or providing services for an employee. No provision in any employment contract can exempt the employer-employee relationship from the provisions of this Act. The employer and employees can negotiate a contract that provides greater rights to employees than mandated by the Employment Act.
The regular work week in Bermuda comprises the standard 40 hours from Monday to Friday with a 9 am to 5 pm shift. An hour’s break for lunch is included in the shift. Employees holding managerial or professional positions are required to work longer than the standard work hours.
Overtime is payable at 1.5 times the standard pay for hours worked over and above 40 hours in a week. Employer and employees can opt out of this requirement in an employment contract. Individuals in professional and managerial positions may need to sign a contract which mentions that they may need to work more than 40 hours a week on occasions.
Bermuda observes 10 national holidays:
- New Year's Day
- Good Friday
- Bermuda Day
- National Heroes Day
- Emancipation Day, Cup Match 1
- Somer's Day, Cup Match 2
- Labour Day
- Remembrance Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
An employee is eligible for 2 weeks of annual paid vacations after he or she completes the first year of uninterrupted employment and a further 2 weeks after completing each further year of uninterrupted employment. However, such durations of vacation are not accruable and thus are not allowed to be “carried over” from the current year to the subsequent year.
Female employees are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave during pregnancy provided they have worked for at least 1 year with their employer. To be eligible for the entitlement, the employee needs to apply for maternity leave at least 4 weeks before the date from which she intends to start her leave. Out of the 12 weeks of the leave, the employee is paid in full for 8 weeks while the other 4 weeks are unpaid. If the employee has worked for less than 1 year, she gets only 8 weeks of unpaid leave.
An employee with a minimum 1 year of uninterrupted employment, who cannot work due to a disease or injury, shall be eligible for his or her regular hourly wage for up to 8 days each year. Employees are not entitled to be paid their usual wages if they remain absent for a period of 2 or more continuous days from work unless they can submit a medical certificate that shows that the absence was due to an injury or disease.
Family and other Medical Leave
Employees are eligible for 3 uninterrupted days of bereavement leave (up to 5 days if the last rites are overseas). The bereavement leave is unpaid unless the employment contract states otherwise.
Provides for disability payments to persons who are disabled due to a physical or mental ailment or any terminal illness.
Pension and Social Security
Government Social Insurance
For any employee working more than 4 hours a week, the employer needs to make contributions to the Department of Social Insurance of the Bermuda Government. The contribution to social insurance is used to provide disability benefits, survival benefits for widows and widowers, and old age pension. Currently, the mandatory contribution is $64.14 per week, which is allowed to be split equally between the employee and the employer.
Company Pension Plans
In the case of a Bermudian or an employee married to a Bermudian, employers need to set up a private pension plan with an approved pension fund and to make contributions to it under the National Pension Scheme. It is mandatory that 10% of the gross salary is paid into the scheme, of which the employer must pay 50%. People receive their pension benefit when they:
- reach the age of 65 years or older, and
- have contributed to or been credited with 25 to 50 contributions to the Contributory Pension Fund (CPF) in a year.
The payment they are entitled to receive depends on their total number of contributions and number of years they have been part of the pension plan. They may be eligible for the payment whether they have stopped working or not.
Employees in Bermuda may be eligible to receive a disability benefit if:
- Their age is more than 18 but under 65
- They are unable to work due to a mental or physical disability
- Their lack of capacity lasts for a period extending more than 52 weeks
- They were in gainful employment prior to the start date of disability
- They have made a minimum 150 contributions to social insurance
- Their average yearly number of contributions paid or credited exceeds 25, and
- They can provide a valid medical proof of disability.
The rate of benefit that they will receive will depend on their record of contributions. If an employee has no social insurance contributions, he/she may still be eligible for a disability benefit if the following conditions are fulfilled:
- Continuous resident status in Bermuda for a period of 10 years immediately prior to their date of application
- Age over 18 but under 65 years
- Incapacity to work due to permanent mental or physical disability
- Can submit a medical certificate as proof of their inability to work.
The Health Insurance Act 1970 mandates all employees and their non-working spouses to be covered under the minimum coverage of health insurance called the Standard Hospital Benefit. This is included in all private health insurance plans in Bermuda. Many employers also provide a much higher coverage than mandated by law.
Additional benefits often include a major insurance plan to cover overseas healthcare including benefits that cover the cost of check-up by doctors, prescription medicines, and yearly physical check-ups. Employers in Bermuda need to bear half the expense of health insurance. The actual cost of a health insurance plan depends on several factors including benefits and plan design. Some plans also cover dental insurance and vision care.
In Bermuda, there are two levels of coverage for dental care: basic and comprehensive. Those who take the basic plan get basic preventative services while those insured under the comprehensive plan get all the benefits of the basic plan as well as coverage for major restorative treatments.
A person or persons are entitled to a Survivors Benefit of:
- An allowance if he or she is a widow/widower, and if the deceased at the date of death satisfies the conditions of relevant contributions
- A gratuity if he or she is a widow/widower, and when the deceased did not qualify the relevant conditions of contributions
- Other Gratuity if there are children or a child and no widow/widower.
The estate representative is entitled to receive a benefit when there are no children or widow/widower.
HIP and FutureCare Benefits
The Health Insurance Department (HID) provides Health Insurance Plan (HIP) and FutureCare scheme. Enrolment to these plans is restricted by age and the needs of a patient. These plans cover in-patient and out-patient care, doctor’s visits, dental benefits, and overseas care.
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