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Video: Minister Unemployment Benefit Update

1,142 applicants were processed for payment yesterday and those funds should be in their accounts today and the Ministry anticipate processing more than another 400 today, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports Lovitta Foggo said as she provided an update regarding the unemployment benefit.

Minister Foggo said, “Good Day: I am pleased to begin my remarks by informing the public that the first payments to applicants for the Covid-19 Unemployment Benefit have been made. The Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports in just two weeks has assisted the Ministry of Finance in helping to deliver on this important and unprecedented financial safety net for our people.

“Our Ministry is working tirelessly to assist the many people that have found themselves displaced and their financial future uncertain due to this pandemic, beginning with the Covid-19 Unemployment Benefit, administered through the Department of Workforce Development.

“I am pleased to report that 1,142 applicants were processed for payment yesterday and those funds should be in their accounts today. In addition we anticipate processing more than another 400 today.

“The government is pleased to be able to do its part to assist in helping our countrymen meet their obligations and provide for their families during these challenging times.

The Covid – 19 Unemployment Benefit is for eligible employees not currently on Financial Assistance and provides a payment of 60% of their weekly gross salary up to a maximum of $500 per week.

“The benefit is for a maximum of 12 weeks in total per employee from the date of application.

“Those employees eligible for the proposed unemployment benefit must:

“Meet the definition of an employee under the Employment Act 2000 and either:

  • possesses Bermudian status; or
  • be the spouse of a person who possesses Bermudian status; or
  • Must be a permanent resident as provided for in section 23 of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956; or
  • have a valid work permit as defined in the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 and can show that they were prevented at the time of the application, due to travel restrictions directly related to COVID-19, from departing Bermuda.

“And who were in full time employment and owing to the COVID-19: either:

  • laid off work or
  • they are self-employed, and without income or his income has been substantially reduced, and is registered with the Office of the Tax Commissioner; or
  • Their employment has been terminated; or
  • is engaged as an employee, but is for the time being working substantially reduced hours; or
  • is subject to mandatory quarantine or isolation, without compensation.

“The Department of Workforce Development are managing the benefit and application can be made online through either the Bermuda Job Board or at www.gov.bm.

“As we are trying to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 I would encourage eligible employees to apply online and use the help line number 297- 7714 and 297-7716 should they require assistance.

“The Department has put together a team of employees to work on this project and are working in conjunction with the Accountant General’s Department to get the payments out starting today. The Department is also working with the larger employers who have laid off large numbers of staff to streamline the application process for their employees.

“Staff review the submitted applications to ensure that the applicant is eligible and they are approving and processing payments for those that qualify.

“I appreciate how important the benefit is to people who are out of work and we are working diligently to get these payments to you as soon as we can.

“The benefit, application form, software, staff training etc. has been set up from scratch in two weeks and I would like to recognize the Acting Director of Workforce Development, Olu Bademosi, and his team for their work on delivering this benefit.

“I would also like to inform the public that The Labour Relations section has been working remotely answering queries from both employers and employees on compliance with the Employment Act 2000 and other matters. They are providing an important resource to our community, insuring that our workers know their rights and that employers know their obligations under the law.

“To assist we have put on the front page of the Government website www.gov.bm as well as on the Bermuda job board at www.bermudajobboard.bm a link whints today. In addition we anticipate processing mch provides further information for employees and also a form for them to submit a complaint if they believe an employer is acting in contravention of the Employment Act 2000.

“I encourage employees to go to use these resources, understand your rights under the Employment Act 2000 and seek advice and assistance from the Labour Relations team as needed.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognize the Labour Relations Manager, Gabrielle Cann, and her team for their work at this time and their commitment to assisting both employers and employees.

“In closing I want to give a general public reminder that for the latest health information associated with COVID-19, please visit coronavirus.gov.bm.

“I encourage everyone to remain vigilant, please follow the Ministry of Health guidelines and please be safe. Thank You.”