Your pension belongs to you, not your employer

OCTOBER 19, 2018

A pension is a method of saving for your retirement. It is your money that is overseen by a pension plan that helps the money grow into sufficient funds that will hopefully see you with enough money to live on once you retire.

People who are a member of a pension plan that is registered in the Cayman Islands that was set up by their employer should understand that the pension belongs to them, no matter why or when they leave their job. This applies to the pension contributions made by the employee (a minimum of 5 per cent of their monthly wage) and also the mandatory minimum 5 per cent contributed by the employer.

If they leave their job or even decide to leave the island, but are not retiring, there are options as to what they can do with their pension. If you’re no longer working for the employer that set up your pension but you intend to continue to live and work in the Cayman Islands, you may be able to leave your pension where it is and get it when you retire, or alternatively you can carry on paying into your pension plan after you leave, or you can decide to transfer it to a new scheme or get a refund on your contributions.

If you meet the age requirements, you can even start collecting your pension.

Transferring out of a pension plan

Deciding to transfer out of your plan to another authorized pension plan on island means you will have to complete the necessary documentation. In this documentation you will have to certify that you understand that you are entitled to benefits under the plan in relation to your employment with your employer and that you understand you can leave your benefit in the plan where it will continue to accrue based on market conditions until you retire.

Alternatively you can transfer the value of the accumulate contributions to another approved pension plan.

Leaving the island

If you decide to leave the Cayman Islands and want to apply for a refund of your pension contributions accrued while in employment here, you should be aware that refunds are only allowed if the commuted value of the pension is over CI$5,000 and the member’s employment is terminated. In addition the refund will only be paid once that member has stopped living in the Islands and no contributions have been made to a pension plan by, or on behalf of the member for two years or more.

People who have a commuted value of their pension under CI$5,000 can receive their refund straight away, so long as their employment is terminated and they stop living in the Cayman Islands. Your pension is yours; it’s money that has been saved up over your working life that has been contributed to by you as the employee and also your employer. Ensuring you have these precious savings overseen by a solid pension plan provider should mean you can look forward to a happy and fulfilling retirement.