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Jun 30, 2003

It’s official: compromise reached on Soc. Sec.

The controversy over Social Security is over. At least that’s the official word from Belmopan. A press release today from the Office of the Prime Minister says that a meeting Friday evening between union officials, the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance resulted in agreement on the following points.

The level of Social Security contributions will increase from seven percent to eight percent of insurable earnings. That increase will be split fifty-fifty between employees and employers.

The ceiling on insurable earnings, currently set at three hundred and twenty dollars per week, will not be raised. The board will initiate a detailed analysis of the situation and will make recommendations on any phased increase to the ceiling.

The mandatory retirement age will remain at sixty-five and a formula will be worked out which would allow voluntary retirement with reduced pension benefits for those who choose to retire between the ages of sixty and sixty-three.

Government also agreed to provide specific information on all the S.S.B.’s investments to the new board for its next meeting. This will allow union representatives to see exactly how the Social Security Board spends its money.

Various statutory instruments to bring these changes into effect will be signed as early as this week, although it is not clear exactly when the increased contributions would begin to impact payrolls.

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