Unemployed - Unemployment Benefit


NB: contributions are calculated weekly: for example 10 contributions refer to payment that covers 10 weeks of work.

Quarters refer to the divisions of the year into three-month periods. For e.g. January to March = 1 quarter.
Question: I’ve lost my job, how do I qualify for unemployment benefit?

To qualify you must:

1.  have been insured by NIS for at least 52 weeks before becoming unemployed

2. have at least 20 contributions paid to your account in the 3 consecutive quarters ending with the quarter before that in which you became unemployed

3. have at least 7 contributions paid in the quarter before the quarter in which you became unemployed

Example: Should you become unemployed in November of a given year, you must have at least 20 contributions paid between the period January – September 30th.

Example: in that second-last quarter, July – September, which is roughly 12 weeks, 7 (weekly) contributions should have been made.

How do I claim unemployment benefit?

First, you should report to the Unemployment Section at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building,Culloden Road,St. Michael to complete a claim form and register at the National Employment Bureau, Warrens, St. Michael .

How is unemployment benefit calculated? 

The daily rate of unemployment benefit is 60% of your average insurable weekly earnings divided by 6. This also applies to someone who has been laid off or kept on short time (working a reduced number of hours).

Example: If you earn $400 a week, your unemployment benefit would be calculated as follows:
60% of 400 = $240,  divided by 6 = $40 per day.

Will I get the benefit for the first three days of unemployment?

No, these are treated as “waiting days” and you will not receive benefit for this time unless you’re unemployed for
2 weeks or more.

How long will I receive unemployment benefit?

The benefit is payable for each day of unemployment except Sundays for a maximum of 26 weeks in a
continuous period of unemployment; or for an aggregate of 26 weeks in the 52 weeks immediately before the
current week of unemployment.

What happens if I become employed and made unemployed again within the 52 week period? 

Two or more periods of unemployment which are not separated by more than eight weeks, are seen as one
continuous period of unemployment starting on the first day of the first unemployment. The rate payable remains
for the whole period.

If I go away for a weekend trip will I continue to receive unemployment benefit?

No. Unemployment benefit will not be paid for any time you spend out of the island, during imprisonment nor for any period more than 3 weeks from the time you registered at the E. Humphrey Walcott Building. You must visit there every three weeks to continue receiving your benefit.

For more information download the NIS Guide to Benefits booklet which you can view in Adobe Acrobat. If you don’t have Acrobat, click here to download it.

For more information or explanation of terms used, See FAQ or the Glossary in the Information Zone.

Related Links

Ministry of Labour

PWC Jobs

Ernst & Young Careers

Caribbean Job Search