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posted 20 Mar 2018, 11:49 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 20 Mar 2018, 11:51 ]
The vast majority of cases that the National Workers Union (NWU) deals with are “walk-in-off-the- street” matters.

This means that we represent workers who are employed by non-unionised companies who will come to see the NWU when their employer is treating them particularly badly or has dismissed them.

One of the questions we regularly ask those who come to see us is: “Is your employer deducting National Insurance contributions and are they paying it in to the National Insurance Board?”

We ask this question based on years of experience.

Some employers simply don't deduct contributions and in doing so will deny workers benefits they are entitled to. In the longer-term, these employers may even damage a worker’s entitlement to a pension when they retire.

Another scenario is that employers are deducting National Insurance (NI) contributions but are not paying them to the National Insurance Board (NIB) - or are paying them very late.

The most obvious way for workers to check their status is to go to any local National Insurance office and ask for what is called a “Contributions Statement”. This is a computerised printout which will show what contributions have been allocated to the worker throughout her working life.

In the case of Cadel Trading, for instance, the Union has advised the twenty-two workers who were summarily dismissed on 7th March to check their National Insurance status. We are now collating the information and an alarming situation is revealing itself.

We have Contribution Statements of at least five workers out of the twenty-two for whom no contributions have been allocated since the 1st January 2016. This is a gap of well over two years!

The NIB has a Compliance Unit which has the role and function of ensuring that employers adhere to their legal requirements under the National Insurance Act. The Union has now written to the Compliance Unit asking them to examine the situation regarding Cadel Trading and the workers for whom no contributions have been allocated for over two years.

Many workers will not have given any thought to their National Insurance status, but it is an easy process.

All you need to do is go to your local National Insurance office and ask for a “Contributions Statement”. It is always helpful if you can walk with a pay slip which will show whether or not deductions are being made and the Board will print out a Statement for you.

If there is a gap between what is being allocated to you on the Contribution Statement and deductions that either should be or are being made, then you need to make a complaint to the NIB there and then.

There is no point in discovering that you are not entitled to benefits at the time you need them. It is much better to check on a regular basis and monitor your status with the Board so that you can do something about it if you find a problem.