NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The National Insurance Board has so far received some 1,000 unemployment benefit claims, mainly from hotel workers amid the fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic.
NIB Director Dr Nicola Virgill-Rolle told Eyewitness News the board is anticipating a large number ‘very soon’.
“We have about 1,000 claims and we are receiving lay off certificates (b80 forms) directly from the hotels so we expect to see a large number very soon.”
She added: “We have changed our business model so that several areas remain with only a basic staff and the majority of staff will be inputting claims.
“They will be trained to do so tomorrow. We expect to temporarily move 60 staff from the Inspectorate, compliance, verifications, registration into claims inputting.”
Virgill-Rolle also noted that with respect to the government unemployment assistance programme for self employed persons, NIB will be launching online applications on Thursday.
“As this is a new programme completely separate from NIBs usual Benefits, we have been able to create a new system using in-house IT resources to assist us with managing the process.”
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest announced that the government is allocating $10 million to provide for a temporary unemployment benefit, administered through the National Insurance Board, for self-employed persons working in the tourism industry.
Turnquest confirmed that under the normal provisions of the NIB insurance scheme, individuals who contract COVID-19 or are quarantined because of exposure or suspected exposure will be eligible for sickness benefits.
Also, individuals who are temporarily laid off because of the economic impacts of COVID-19 will be eligible for unemployment benefits, up to the regular thirteen-week period, if necessary.