By Demion McTair. Updated 1:20 a.m., Thursday April 30, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent (ONE NEWS SVG) – Persons in the hospitality sector in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who are unemployed due to Covid-19 qualify for two types of assistance.
Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves said at a press conference on Wednesday (April 29) that the Displacement Supplementary Income, and the National Insurance Services’ (NIS) Unemployment Benefit are two avenues of assistance, affected hospitality workers can benefit from.
He said the Displacement Supplementary Income will be a $300 per-month payment, just as the NIS Unemployment Benefit.
“It doesn’t differ from the NIS payment and it is open to people in the hospitality sector, generally” – the Minister said.
“So, that means if you work at a hotel, if you work at a restaurant, if you are a tour guide, if you are in one way or the other.. if you operate a dive shop and the like, your application process is also the same process at the NIS. We had thought of a different procedure to apply, but since its the same amount of money, since it would be paid over the same recurrent basis, the NIS has agreed to collect those forms and process those payments on our behalf” the minister added.
“So, if you are in the hospitality sector in any way, and you have been laid off, or your hours have been reduced… you are eligible for $300 per month. If you have been laid off after the first of March and you go to the NIS to collect the form, fill out the form, receive your benefits”.
The minister said those who have been unemployed otherwise, “so you’re not in the hospitality sector but you pay NIS and you’ve been laid off, you also go to the NIS to apply for and receive the $300 per month”.
“Those of you in the hospitality sector, it doesn’t matter whether you pay NIS or not you are eligible for these resources” – he added.
The forms of assistance come as the country’s tourism and hospitality sector has been hard-hit by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.