UWI Principal Calls for Burden Share in Building Social Security System

 Prof Densil Williams

Professor Densil A. Williams, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Mona Campus and Professor of International Business is calling for a rethinking of the way social security benefits are determined and accorded to employees in today’s economic environment where affordability is a major concern to employers.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony for the 31st Caricom Heads of Social Security Systems meeting at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay on Nov 1, 2023, Prof. Williams addressed the subject of post-employment benefits. He noted that a major cost driver on the profit and loss statement of most corporation is the pensions and post-employment benefits. Such benefits, he said, were negotiated decades ago when it was much cheaper to afford those items but today, the cost of carrying those items has ballooned as people live longer and retire earlier. He therefore urged a rethinking of the methodology used to determine how these packages are offered to employees so as not to bankrupt organisations and threaten their going concern status.

Professor Williams argues that employees must be encouraged to share the burden of social security by saving today to reap the rewards tomorrow. He however noted that in order to have the burden share be affordable by the employees, there must be strong and robust growth in the economy where persons have decent paying jobs so that they can afford their share of the burden. He noted that it is imperative that for sustainable and resilient social security system, there needs to be stronger governance in the management of these systems, built on transparency, accountability and distributive justice. Prof Williams implore policymakers to encourage citizens to save today to reap the rewards of a strong social security system tomorrow.