Contributions are required for each “contribution week” - a period of seven days, from Monday to Sunday.  Payments are based on the wages earned during the week, up to an insurable ceiling – currently $740 (as of July 2012). (see Contribution Table).

Contributions are to be paid monthly, and should be received into the Board by the 15th day of the month following the month they were due.

“EMPLOYED PERSONS”: Contributions are to be deducted from the employed person’s wages before they are paid. Deductions are payable from the very first salary payment - even if the worker is serving out a “probationary period”. Contributions not deducted at the time they were due, cannot be reclaimed from employees’ future earnings.   The employer is solely responsible for payment of arrears.

“Wages” includes basic pay (inclusive of pay in lieu of notice) and formally paid tips/gratuities; compensations such as bonuses, overtime and severance are not considered wages.

Contributions for persons, who are paid on a commission basis, will be based on the average weekly or monthly wage in the last year or the total wage paid in the actual week or month concerned.  Contributions for persons paid on a daily or piece-work basis, will be based either on the basic amount paid for similar work, or on the total cash amount paid for the actual week or month - whichever is less.

The rates of contributions are 3.9% for the employee, and 5.9% for the employer.

“SELF-EMPLOYED PERSONS”: Before January 2011, there were two classes of Self-Employed Persons – those in Class A and those in Class B. Persons in class “A” paid contributions at a rate of 6.8%, while persons in Class “B” paid 8.8% of their average insured income, up to the ceiling. Only the latter category was entitled to Industrial Benefits. But as of January 2011, the two classes pay contributions on the same rate – 8.8% - and are, therefore, eligible for the same benefits.

A self-employed person must determine at the beginning of each year what his/her income level for the payment of contributions will be that year. The projection must be reasonable as it will be subject to the review of the NIB.

PENSIONABLE CIVIL SERVANTS: Before July 2013, and because of the integration of the Government’s pension plan with the National Insurance pension plan, civil servants who were eligible for pensions out of the Consolidated Fund paid less in to National Insurance for Retirement and Invalidity Benefits. Their contributions were based on a combination of $110 (reduced for the two long-term benefits), and whatever the prevailing ceiling was at any given time (for all other benefits). Since the July 2013 change, Pensionable Civil Servants pay contributions the same as other employed persons.

PERSONS WITH DUAL EMPLOYMENT: Only one contribution payment is required for a worker during any contribution week, therefore, persons with two or more employers are only required to have contributions paid for them, by the “principal” employer.  The principal employer is, generally, the first employer to whom the worker reports, or the employer who pays the wages first during a contribution week.

PERSONS IN RECEIPT OF RETIREMENT BENEFIT: A person age 60 to 64, who is in receipt of Retirement Benefit, may return/continue to work and receive the benefit, as long as he/she earns no more than half of the insurable wage ceiling.

Additionally, persons age 65 years and older may work and receive Retirement Benefit no matter what they earn.  In the case of self-employed persons, however, they must have initially retired from, and then returned to gainful employment to qualify.  In either case, reduced contributions of 2% must be paid.  For employed persons, only the employer is required to pay.

VOLUNTARILY INSURED PERSONS: An unemployed person, who contributed at least 500 contributions to National Insurance, may apply for permission to pay contributions voluntarily. Contributions are paid at a rate of 5 percent, of the individual’s average weekly earnings, based on his/her last year of employment. Contributions are due before June 30th of each year. 

Contributions paid voluntarily do not count for Sickness, Maternity, Unemployment or any Industrial Benefits.

The privilege of paying as a Voluntarily Insured Person is afforded only to persons resident in The Bahamas, and the application for permission to pay must be made within a year of contributing as either employed or self-employed.