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 original copies of the applicant’s Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate (if married).

If an employee is already registered:
But unable to present his employer with his Social Security card on the first day of work, he must ensure that it is presented by the very next day. 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 while several persons in Dominica may have the same name, each registered member of the DSS has an 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 Labor & Immigration. Upon receiving that Work Permit, the employee must complete an Employee Registration, which must be submitted to the Social Security office along with the original copies of the applicant’s Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate (if married), 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 also required to remit an amount of 7.5% (in respect of Employees With Redundancy) or 7.25% (in respect of Employees Without Redundancy). That amount represents the Employer’s contribution 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 all incidence of non-payment of contributions to the DSS. All information is treated with the strictest confidence.

Benefits You 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 is 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. Qualifying claimants are paid a maximum 60% of their average income during the period of time that they are 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.

Definition Of A Contribution

Each weekly payment received on behalf of an Insured Person is referred to as a Contribution. Each such weekly contribution is converted to Credits. 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 particular 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.

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 either 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 Age Of Insured Persons

Please note that with effect from 2012, and consequent upon amendments to the Social Security legislation, the Pensionable Age (i.e. the age at which an Insured Person becomes eligible for an Age Pension from the DSS) will increase incrementally by six (6) months every year – until the year 2021, when the Pensionable Age will be set at Age 65.

Notwithstanding such incremental increase in the Pensionable Age, provisions have been made whereby persons, who wish to do so, can opt to receive their Age Pension earlier than the normal Pensionable Age that will be in effect at a particular point in time. In that regard, age 60 shall remain the age at which Age Pensions first become payable, but at a reduced rate of 1/2 % per month for every full month prior to the established Pensionable Age that the pension is so taken.

Against that background, the chart below will assist in determining when Insured Persons will become eligible for their full Age Pension and, thus, the Pensionable Age that will be applicable to them.

Pensionable Age Computation Chart

Year Of Birth Month Of Birth (Month Range) Retirement Year Retirement Age
1952 January – June 2012 60 1/2
July – December 2013 61
1953 January – June 2014 61 1/2
July – December 2015 62
1954 January – June 2016 62 1/2
July to December 2017 63
1955 January – June 2018 63 1/2
July – December 2019 64
1956 January – June 2020 64 1/2
July – December 2021 65
After 1956 65

(N.B. 1/2 year = 6 Months)

How to use the above chart

In order to determine the Pensionable Age for an Insured Person, first select his year of birth, then move across (in the same row) to select the Month Range during which he was born. The next two adjacent cells indicate, respectively, the year during which he will reach the Pensionable Age applicable to him and the said Pensionable Age.

For example, a person born in April 1954 will attain his Pensionable Age of 62 1/2 (i.e. 62 years and 6 months) in October 2016 – at which time he will become eligible to receive his full pension. Similarly, a person who was born in November 1955 will qualify for his full pension in November 2019 when he reaches the Pensionable Age of 64 – which is applicable to him.

Pension Percentage Computation Chart

The following Chart gives the approximate pension percentage an Insured Person is likely to receive upon retirement. Please be advised that the “Number of Working Years” cited in the table is based upon the assumption that the person worked for a period of 52 weeks per year.

Number Of full Working Years Cumulative Number Of
Contributions Paid
Corresponding Percentage Of
A.W.I.E Payable As Pension
10 500 to 549 30
11 550 To 599 31
12 600 to 649 32
13 650 to 699 33
14 700 to 749 34
15 750 to 799 35
16 800 to 849 36
17 850 to 899 37
18 900 to 949 38
19 950 to 999 39
20 1000 to 1049 40
21 1050 to 1099 41
22 1100 to 1149 42
23 1150 to 1199 43
24 1200 to 1249 44
25 1250 to 1299 45
26 1300 to 1349 46
27 1350 to 1399 47
28 1400 to 1449 48
29 1450 to 1499 49
30 1500 to 1549 50
31 1550 to 1599 51
32 1600 to 1649 52
33 1650 to 1699 53
34 1700 to 1749 54
35 1750 to 1799 55
36 1800 to 1849 56
37 1850 to 1899 57
38 1900 to 1949 58
39 1950 to 1999 59
40 2000 and over 60

Pension Calculation Program

The DSS Pension Calculation program is under development but is designed to provide an estimate of what your pension is likely to be, based on present legislation, and data currently available.