Video: Minister Hayward & Minister Ming

November 15, 2021 | 4 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Labour Jason Hayward and the Minister of National Security Renee Ming will be holding a press conference at around 10.00am this morning [Nov 15]. We will have additional information later on, and in the live video below should start at around 10.00am.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 30-minute replay is below

Update 2.15pm: Minister Hayward’s remarks:

Good day to members of the media and the listening public. Thank you for your attendance and for watching this Press Conference.

Following the November 5th Speech from the Throne, I would like to provide an update on last year’s initiatives and highlight how the Ministry of Labour plans to provide Bermuda’s youth with the support to train for jobs and introduce a digitised immigration application process to improve the delivery of services to our customers.

Introduction

In the November 2020 Speech from the Throne, the Ministry of Labour was focused on four initiatives:

  • 1. Introduction of a Living Wage;
  • 2. Execution of Financial Assistance Reform;
  • 3. Implementation of Unemployment Insurance; and
  • 4. Progressing Immigration Reform.

Living Wage

The public is aware of the challenges facing many hard-working Bermudians struggling daily to ensure their family’s basic needs are met. With that in mind, this Government is confident that establishing a minimum wage in alignment with a living wage regime will improve many lives by ensuring that they receive fair wages allowing individuals and their families to cover their basic needs.

To that end, in May of this year, I announced that the Wage Commission has completed and delivered to the Government the first report that provides recommendations on establishing a minimum wage in alignment with their responsibilities as set out in Part 3 of the Employment [Wage Commission] Act 2019. The minimum wage recommendations submitted by the Wage Commission bring us one step closer to that goal.

I now look forward to receiving the Commission’s second report on a living wage, expected in March 2022. After which, the Government will review the recommendations and considerations contained in both documents to table in Parliament a wage bill that will establish a statutory minimum wage in alignment with a living wage regime for Bermuda.

Financial Assistance Reform

On September 10th in the House of Assembly, the public will recall that I tabled the Financial Assistance Amendment Act 2021 and announced the eventual tabling of the Financial Assistance Amendment Regulations 2021 as part of the Financial Assistance Reform Strategy.

The Financial Assistance reform strategy aims to chart a new course for Financial Assistance, making it a more effective and efficient system that emphasises transforming those who have been unable to participate fully in the productive economy and realise their potential.

The Financial Assistance Reform Strategy consists of two phases encompassing four overarching goals. Phase one strives to encourage individuals and families to become financially independent by strengthening the education, training, and employment services for financial assistance recipients and improving the program to better support persons with disabilities. While phase two seeks to increase the sustainability of the Financial Assistance program.

I am pleased to say that following the tabling of the Financial Assistance Amendment Act 2021 and the eventual tabling of the Financial Assistance Amendment Regulations 2021, the Ministry of Labour is well on its way to executing phase one of the Financial Assistance Reform Strategy.

Unemployment Insurance

Over the year’s subsequent government administrations failed to introduce Unemployment Insurance. However, in November 2020, this Government committed to developing an Unemployment Insurance Scheme so that this most critical social protection is provided to displaced workers, supporting them and their families, allowing them to receive a basic income.

The Government immediately began developing a roadmap and plan to enable a phased implementation of an unemployment insurance scheme in 2023 that will ensure adequate protections for workers.

In January 2021, the Ministry distributed an Unemployment Insurance Fund Consultation Feedback Paper to tripartite stakeholders who provided feedback on implementing the Government’s proposed Fund.

A technical assistance team will facilitate the creation of a report detailing best practices, based on the experience of other countries, in the areas of:

  • i. Eligibility Criteria
  • ii. Actuarial and Funding Model;
  • iii. Benefit Design;
  • iv. Contributions;
  • v. Required Legislative framework;
  • vi. Administration;
  • vii. IT Systems;
  • viii. Compliance;
  • ix. Governance & Oversight;
  • x. Stakeholder Engagement and Communications;
  • xi. Implementation guidance [Phases of implementation]; and
  • xii. Other political considerations.

We remain hopeful the phased implementation will commence in 2023.

Progressing Immigration Reform

In July of 2021, the Government presented its plans for immigration reform which seeks to modernise the Country’s Immigration laws and supporting policies and create operational efficiencies through process improvement.

Immigration reform initiatives consist of the following strategic priorities:

  • 1. Achieve a simplified, fair, and modern immigration legislative framework.
  • 2. Leverage technology to improve operations, leading to greater levels of efficiency, process consistency, and sustainability.
  • 3. Strengthen enforcement of laws and policies.
  • 4. Support economic growth and the expansion of job opportunities in Bermuda.

It is envisioned that these strategic priorities will provide the required restructuring to rebuild and strengthen our immigration system.

The two initiatives from the 2020 speech from the Throne have both been successfully achieved, namely:

  • 1. The creation and implemented the Economic Investment Certificate; and
  • 2. Amending the eligibility requirement for Permanent Resident’s Certificates, enabling long-term residents the ability to apply for permanent residency in Bermuda.

Other progressive changes to immigration achieved during the previous parliamentary period include:

  • Removing of the requirement for an Affidavit for Domicile – for Bermuda Status applications;
  • Expanding closed and restricted job categories;
  • Executing the Work From Bermuda Program; and
  • Enhancing visitor stays by increasing the number of days from 90 to 180.

I can confidently say that this Government has made excellent progress in accomplishing the 2020 Throne Speech initiatives. However, there remains much work to be done.

2021 Speech from the Throne

As stated in the 2021 Speech from the Throne and in line with Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Ministry of Labour will focus its efforts on introducing a digitised immigration application process and the implementation of the Youth Employment Strategy.

Digitised Immigration Application Processes

The Government will move to implement a digitised immigration application process that directly aligns with one of the core immigration reform strategic priorities to leverage technology to improve operations, leading to greater levels of efficiency, process consistency, and sustainability.

The Department of Immigration is tasked with optimising core processes and modernising existing systems, including a rigorous process reengineering review on the services offered by the Department with the goal to:

  • Eliminate the excessive use of paper;
  • Reduce the volume of data entry;
  • Increase turnaround times;
  • Provide analytical and performance data;
  • Improve customer and stakeholder communications;
  • Provide a platform for auditing and quality management; and
  • Eliminate the submission of incomplete applications.

The Ministry of Labour will enhance Bermuda’s competitive edge by introducing a digitised immigration application process to improve the delivery of services and ensure that the existing manual immigration process does not hinder the specialised talent required to grow Bermuda’s economy further.

Youth Employment Strategy

The November 2020 Labour Force Survey Report placed the youth unemployment rate for persons 16 to 26 years of age at over 32 per cent. To put this in perspective, almost one in three young persons of working age are unemployed.

The Youth Employment Strategy is meant to meet the identified needs of unemployed persons between the ages of 18-26 and guide unemployed Bermudian youth back to work. This Government is committed to developing a resilient workforce that provides a sustainable and stable community by supporting training and helping facilitate employment for all young people.

To that end, The Department of Workforce Development is working to implement a Youth Employment Strategy which aims to prepare Bermuda’s youth for the world of work, positioning them to prepare for and take advantage of job opportunities. The strategy aims to:

  • Facilitate access to training and employment opportunities for Bermuda’s youth;
  • Encourage Bermuda’s youth to take advantage of available training opportunities;
  • Provide career guidance and resources for Bermuda’s youth; and
  • Support access to work experience opportunities such as internships, traineeships and apprenticeships;
  • Motivate Bermuda’s youth to develop the highest level of proficiency in their chosen field;
  • Promote training and employment opportunities locally before resorting to overseas recruitment;
  • Ensure that qualified and competent young people are provided opportunities for development and growth to support promotion within their chosen careers.

Young people’s economic success is rooted in their ability to secure a sustainable livelihood through productive work. Participating in Bermuda’s workforce will empower and enable our young people to contribute to Bermuda’s growth and prosperity.

Conclusion

The people of Bermuda have entrusted this Government to lead, and the initiatives featured in the Speech from the Throne will form part of the Ministry of Labour’s priorities over the next year. Over the last 18 months, we have learned that we cannot continue to do things the same. We must continue working together and using lessons learned from our past and the current crisis to ensure the future well-being of Bermuda.

Thank you. At this time, I welcome questions from the media.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    Jason Hayward does seem to love being in the news.

    If he put as much effort into his Ministerial post as he does into being reelected in 4 years time he would be a great Minister.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    Re road deaths, the only policing that is visible are police driving around in brand new cruisers, and bikers dressed up for ceremonial duties. Where are the boots on the ground police? Where is the presence that used to install fear into people not using the roads properly? Why has the PLP defunded the police so much, but pretend it is someone else’s fault? Accept the carnage and shooting deaths because the Government doesn’t seem to care.

  3. Question says:

    So covid benefits are being ‘clawed back’ from the thieves and fraudsters who criminally stole the funds. And at the same time they’re setting up schemes to give away more money.

    When the PLP came into power, any Bermudian that wanted could have two jobs. There was over-employment. After 23 years of PLP government, thousands are out of work, and unemployment benefits cost $61m a year.

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