Definition Of An Employee

Any person who works for an employer, should be registered with Social Security and regarded as an Insured Person.

Registration Of Employees

The Social Security Act provides that every employee between the ages of 16 and the Retirement Age, who commences employment in Dominica, must be registered with the DSS within four days of the commencement of employment. It is an offense under the Social Security Act to engage in employment if one is not registered.

If an employee is not yet registered:

  • His employer has a legal obligation to give him time off to get registered. The employee should therefore ask for time off in order to get registered.
  • To get registered, the employee must complete an Employee Registration Form, which must be submitted to the Social Security office along with the applicant’s original Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate (if applicable).


If an employee is already registered:

  • He must present his employer with his Social Security card on the first day of work. It is important that this is done, because one can only qualify for Social Security benefit if one is registered.


It is important to note that each registered member of the DSS has a unique Social Security number. Your Social Security number ensures that all Contributions payable on your behalf are recorded against your name. You must therefore always quote your full Social Security number when making inquiries at the Social Security office.

Registration Of Employees

As indicated earlier, every employee in Dominica, including non-nationals, must be registered, and must pay contributions. To work in Dominica, each non-national must obtain and produce a Work Permit issued by the Government of Dominica – Division of Labour. Upon receiving that Work Permit, the employee must complete an Employee Registration Form, which must be submitted to the Social Security office along with the applicant’s original Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate (if applicable), and Passport.

The only non-nationals who are exempt from coverage are:

  • Members of the Foreign Diplomatic corp.
  • Persons whose salaries and contributions are paid in their country of residence.
  • Persons exempted by reason of their contributions to another Social Security with whom the DSS has a Reciprocal Agreement.

Employee Contribution

Current Regulations provide that every employee in Dominica must contribute an amount of 6.5% of his gross income to the DSS. In addition to the amount deducted from the Employee, the employer is required to contribute an amount of 7.5% (in respect of Employees With Redundancy) or 7.25% (in respect of Employees Without Redundancy) on behalf of his employee. The employer is responsible for remitting the total amount (14% or 13.75% of the employee’s gross wage) to the DSS on, or by the 14th day of the following month.

It is the employee’s responsibility to periodically check the DSS office to ensure that such contributions are paid, and to report any incidence of non-payment of contributions to the DSS. All information is treated with the strictest confidence.

Definition Of A Contribution

Each weekly payment received on behalf of an Insured Person is referred to as a Contribution. Each such contribution is converted to a Credit. Thus, an Insured Person who worked for an entire month is entitled to 4 or 5 Credits depending on the number of Mondays in that month. By extension, the entitlement for an entire year is 52 or 53 Credits, depending on the number of Mondays in the year.

In addition, an employee who is in receipt of any Short-term benefit is awarded a Credit for each complete week (Monday through Saturday) during which he is in receipt of that benefit.

The number of Credits an Insured Person has recorded against his number determines:

  • Whether or not he will qualify for benefit.
  • What percentage of his salary he will receive as his pension.

Benefits Employees Qualify For

It is of interest to note that while the total Social Security contributions payable on behalf of an employee is 14% of his Average Weekly Insurable Earnings (AWIE), the minimum Pension which he may qualify for is 30% of his AWIE. Additionally, the Short-term Benefits he may qualify for are paid at the rate of 60% of his AWIE.

The benefits provided are divided into three categories as follows:

Short-Term Benefits: These are benefits that are generally payable for a short duration of time (not exceeding 26 weeks or 6 months), and are meant to partially replace employment income lost as a result of temporary absence from work. A qualifying claimant is paid a maximum of 60% of his average income during the period of time that he is medically certified to be incapable of work. A person in receipt of Short-term benefit is responsible for informing the DSS office if there is any change of circumstances affecting his continued rights to such benefit. Short-Term Benefits being paid by DSS are as follows:

  • Sickness Benefit
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Maternity Grant


Employment Injury Benefits: These are benefits that are payable as a direct consequence of an occupational hazard. The benefits being paid under the Employment Injury Branch are as follows:

  • Employment Injury Benefit
  • Disablement Benefit
  • Disablement Grant
  • Medical Expenses Benefit
  • Death Benefit


Long-term Benefits are generally payable for a longer duration of time than Short-term Benefits which are paid for a maximum period of 26 weeks. The quantum of benefit payable is a function of the number of Contributions (or Credits) which a person has recorded against his account, and his average income for the best 3 years of the last 10 years prior to his date of eligibility. Having determined the Claimant’s Average earnings, the Claimant is usually paid a percentage of such Average Insurable Earnings. The percentage payable depends on the number of Credits which the person has earned during his working life up to the date that the claim was made. (Please see the Pension Percentage Computation Chart for the percentage equivalency.)

The Long-term benefits being paid by DSS are as follows:

  • Age Benefit
  • Age Grant
  • Invalidity Benefit
  • Invalidity Grant
  • Survivors Benefit
  • Survivors Grant

In addition, a lump sum Funeral Grant is provided to assist with the burial expenses of an Insured Person, his or her spouse, and/or dependent children. The Grant is payable to the person(s) who has met, or is liable to meet, the burial expenses.

Medical Referee

A Medical Referee is a medical practitioner (or a group of medical practitioners) appointed to independently evaluate the medical condition of a patient who has been referred to him for evaluation by the Dominica Social Security.

Dependent Children

Dependent Children are all the biological children, step children, or legally adopted children of a deceased Insured Person who at the date of the parent’s death was below the age of 18, and was living with, or wholly or mainly maintained by the deceased.

Certificate Of Life Form

A Certificate of Life form is a certificate attesting to the fact that the Pension recipient is alive and in receipt of his pension. The form must be signed by the pensioner in the presence of a witness who must be one of the following persons: Justice of the Peace; Notary Public; Lawyer; Police Officer (Sergeant or above); Ordained Minister of Religion; Doctor; Family Nurse Practitioner; School Principal; Licensed Surveyor; Banker or Credit Union senior Personnel; Social Security Departmental Manager or Compliance/Field Officer. For benefit recipients residing overseas, the Certificate of Life form must be notarized.

Retirement of Insured Persons

For information on Retirement Age and Pension, click here.