29 September 2017
The Minister for Social Security, Deputy Susie Pinel, has today launched the second part of a major, three-year review into the Social Security scheme, which looks in more detail at some existing contributory benefits.
Living Today: Thinking Ahead asks for public feedback about working age contributory benefits with a particular focus on the benefits that new parents can claim or following the death of a partner.
Deputy Pinel, said: “We need to understand the public’s views on working age contributory benefits so that we can continue to provide a scheme that reflects the way we live today and that people will continue to value over the years ahead.”
Changes to parental benefits
This second part of the consultation looks at possible changes to bring existing contributory benefits in line with the needs of modern families. Deputy Pinel explains: “It is important that the Social Security scheme reflects how we live today. As part of the review, I can confirm that we will be taking steps to change existing maternity benefits to allow them to be claimed by either parent so that they become parental benefits: available to all parents, including adoptive and surrogate parents.”
The three-year review, which launched in October 2016, considers how the Jersey Social Security system will also need to change and adapt in order to sustain an ageing population; and will help to set the direction of the scheme over the next three decades. With people generally living longer, the number of pensioners in Jersey is predicted to increase rapidly. Not only will the cost of pensions increase year on year, there will be proportionately fewer working age people to meet these increased costs. Last year, public feedback was very supportive of the old age pension and suggested that the eligibility for other contributory benefits could be tightened to help to meet some of these extra costs. it was also accepted that employers and employees may have to pay more into the Social Security fund to meet the rising pension bill.
Public opinion wanted
The Minister explained: “This survey focuses on parental and bereavement benefits, we are keen to hear from as many people as possible. Any changes we make to the Social Security contributory benefit scheme will affect all Islanders so I would encourage everyone to participate. We are hoping to hear from employers, employees, self-employed business owners, parents, pensioners and as many younger people as possible, as the contributory scheme that we design will ultimately affect and protect their lives in the future.
“We have also partnered with apptivism.je to gather views on the future of parental benefits through their Facebook app. 1,300 people have already used this app to express their views on other important social issues.”
Living Today: Thinking Ahead, part two of the Social Security consultation, will close on 15 December 2017. To complete the consultation, visit our Social Security review pages.