Effective 1 January, 2000 mandatory occupational pension plans are required to be established by employers in Bermuda for all of their Bermudian employees or the husband or wife of a Bermudian employee, employed in Bermuda, who are between the ages of 23 and 65 and who have completed 720 hours or more hours of employment with them in any given calendar year.
Employers may permit an employee to join the plan earlier and voluntarily include non-Bermudian employees in their pension plan. An employer may also include other plan provisions that are more beneficial to their employees than required, such as higher pensionable earnings contributions, earlier vesting, additional contributions, etc.
Employers are required to establish and register pension plans in accordance with the National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998 (the “Act”) and Regulations made thereunder and to make required employer pension contributions (currently 5% of an employee’s pensionable earnings) into the plan along with the employee’s required contributions (also currently 5% of an employee’s pensionable earnings). However, an employer may choose to contribute all or part of the required employee’s contributions on their behalf. All contributions will be vested and locked-in after 1 year of plan membership (or earlier if the plan permits).
An employer may establish and enroll their eligible employees in an individual registered pension plan or participate in a registered financial institution pension plan.
Employers have a duty under the Act to retain specific records and maintain them as follows:
Records relating to the pension plan – the pension plan’s registration number and the name and address of the plan administrator;
Records relating to an employee – the employee’s name, date of birth and address, the date their employment commenced, salaries, wages, bonuses and any other type of compensation paid to the employee (whether directly or indirectly), date of the employee’s eligibility for enrollment in the pension plan, the employee’s actual date of enrollment in the pension plan, the dates and amounts of employee contributions withheld by the employer, the dates and amounts of employee contributions paid into the pension fund, the dates and amounts of employer contributions paid into the pension fund for the benefit of the employee and the employee’s date of termination of employment.
The records referred to above shall be kept by the employer for a minimum of seven years following the date of termination of the employee;
Records that are stored electronically must be capable of being reproduced in legible form;
The above requirements apply to a person who stores or maintains records on behalf of an employee.
The Act requires self-employed persons between the age of 23 and 65 who have pensionable earnings exceeding $20,000 from self-employment to participate in a registered pension plan.
Pensionable earnings from self-employment means net earnings from a business (calculated on a consistent basis from year to year using either a cash or accrual method of accounting). Net earnings means a self-employed person’s revenues less expenses (excluding any wages, salary, leave pay, fee, commission, bonus or payments from a profit sharing scheme paid to a self-employed person) from operating a business in a calendar year.
A self-employed person satisfying the above requirements shall not, in any one calendar year, be required to contribute an amount which exceeds $10,000.