Social Security reform needed before compassionate leave is considered

    Kamilah Lawrence, Public Relations Manager at the St. Kitts and Nevis Social Security Board.
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    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — In St. Kitts and Nevis, parents staying at home to nurse a sick child back to health are often granted compassionate leave by doctors. This allows them to miss time from work under the authority of a medical professional.

    The practice may be common in the twin-island Federation, but it comes at a cost. First, paid compassionate leave is not recognized in the public sector. Second, the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board does not pay benefits for compassionate leave.

    “At Social Security, those things are not yet ready based on our legislation,” said Kamilah Lawrence, Public Relations Manager at The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board. “Socially, there should be something else in place and we see that other companies are coming onboard.”

    Ms. Lawrence noted that any decision on extension of benefits will require wide-ranging discussions and consultations.

    “As we go into reforms, some of those conversations will be had, but it also means that we are going to be expected to offer more as individuals to support the new benefits that we want to see from Social Security,” Ms. Lawrence added.

    She indicated that a cultural shift will be required in order for some of the new benefits, such as compassionate leave and paternity leave to be introduced.

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