Government is preparing to give updates on job initiatives
It’s still too early to tell whether the payroll tax relief for employers who hire Bermudians, which went into effect on April 1, has had an impact on Bermuda’s economy.
The tax holiday was approved by Parliament in March to encourage employers to take on new Bermudian hires by giving them a two-year exemption from payroll tax for those new hirings.
Financial Secretary Anthony Manders said the Tax Commission Office “cannot report on the actual number at this time”.
“Employers report their payroll tax returns quarterly. Filings for the April to June period are due on July 15. Some employers have submitted their statement of eligibility for this relief in advance but others will do so when they submit their payroll returns,” he said.
“Since this quarter’s filing period is not over, it is premature to report on the number of employers that have taken advantage of this relief and the number of new Bermudian hires as a result.
“The Office of the Tax Commissioner has however received a number of enquiries since the announcement but they cannot at this time report on the actual number. As soon as this information is available, we will be pleased to report it to you and the public.”
In the final segment of our series ‘Immigration Matters’, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said he will give the public update on recent employment initiatives when he returns from the International Labour Organisation’s Meeting of the Caribbean Labour Ministers in Trinidad and Tobago.
One initiative announced in April was a training scheme for Bermudians to become qualified as butchers. The trainees have now returned to the Island and the Minister will make a statement soon on how that initiative went.
Tomeeka Talbot, Vaughan Archibald, Maki Pitt and Damiko Trott set out for Meat Ipswich, in Suffolk, England, on a three-month course to become certified butchers.
When he announced the initiative earlier this year Sen Fahy said the number of work permit requirements in that job category increased by 11 percent from 2008 to 2011. He also said the National Training Board, headed up by OBA MP Jeff Sousa, had been tasked with producing a national plan to address unemployment in Bermuda.
The main objective said Sen Fahy “is to provide access to employment opportunities in a filed that would traditionally be filled by guest workers”.
“We will be looking at Immigration figures and work permits to see which industries particularly have a high number of guest workers so that we can encourage Bermudians into certain trades so we don’t have to issue so many permits in that area,” he said.
He also announced plans to send six Bermudians to the New England Institute of Technology to train as automotive collision professionals.
Prior to the change of Government, a group of drywallers completed their training last year. A Government spokeswoman confirmed that “out of the 17 who attended, 16 are gainfully employed”.
Earlier this year Sen Fahy also announced an initiative with Norwegian Cruise Line. Critics complained that cruise ship employees don’t earn a lot of money for “a lot of hard work’.
In response, Sen Fahy said: “No one is saying it’s going to be a cake walk and working on a cruise ship would be easy.”
But for those who want to put the time and effort into it, he said it’s a job that doesn’t pay much provides the opportunity to travel around the world on the high seas.
The Minister questioned the “new generation mentality” of fresh out of college graduates who believe they should be given a job at the top of the totem pole from day one.
“We have to be able to say we can’t all start at the top. We as Bermudians need to accept that we have to work very hard now in an international market place,” he said.
“Bermuda is not a closed market anymore, we’re competing with everybody. If you want to put the time and effort into work, there are jobs.”
Asked about complaints that Bermudian college graduates return home and cannot find work he said: “It’s the same everywhere in the world.
“This is a shock for us but it’s the same everywhere. We can’t have a total sense of entitlement and we can’t just be given a job.
“You may have to come in with a degree and be the photocopying guy and work your way up. We may have the best university degree but we can’t just say I deserve that job. You need to start in a role that is suitable and that age and work your way up.
“We have got to reset the dial as to what a reasonable expectation is. And we have to make sure that as Bermudians we are choosing good educational institutions.”