(STATEMENT) — The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is expected to put a serious strain on the economy and health care systems in Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucian workers face the likelihood of working reduced hours or even layoffs as companies seek to contain financial losses resulting from the global pandemic.
The National Insurance Corporation (NIC) must contribute to the national effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. This can be achieved through the effective implementation of social distancing which will assist in safeguarding the health and life of our contributors and our staff, members of their family and others with whom they interact.
The NIC is introducing the following initiatives to promote social distancing as well as increase the payout on sickness benefits claims relating to COVID-19,
1. Waiver of Life Certificates and Invalidity Review: Until further notice, pensioners will not be required to come into the NIC to sign life certificates nor will persons in receipt of invalidity pensions be required to visit a doctor to undertake the invalidity review. Pensioners can be assured of the continuity of their pensions during that period.
2. Facilitating Sickness Benefit Claims: The current three-day waiting period for sickness benefit will not apply to anyone who is medically required to be quarantined or placed on self-isolation on account of the COVID-19. In such cases, the requirement for the sickness claim form to be signed by a registered medical practitioner will be waived.
For the purpose of leave related to COVID-19, all claims must be submitted by the employer. The above applies only to sickness claims resulting from COVID-19. All other sickness claims will follow the normal process.