Over the past few months, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, the Honourable Allyson West, along with other officials of the Ministry held several discussions with the staff of the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) and the Customs and Excise Division (C&ED) on the proposed implementation of the TTRA.
Please find below some of the frequently asked questions and the responses:
Q: Will the employment of staff be secure?
A: YES! All workers, including established, temporary, contract and daily paid, will have the option to move to the TTRA or remain in the public service on no less favourable terms and conditions. Workers who choose not to go to the TTRA will be redeployed into the Public Service.
Q: What will be the nature of the employment relationship in the TTRA?
A: Persons engaged by the TTRA will be employees of the TTRA and will enjoy the full rights and entitlements of employees under all the relevant laws of Trinidad and Tobago.
Q: Will staff be entitled to leave?
A: All employees of the TTRA will be entitled to leave in accordance with our Labour Laws, this includes, vacation, maternity and sick leave.
Q: What will happen to the pension of the current staff of the IRD and the C&ED?
A: All pension rights will be preserved. Pension entitlement will be computed up to the date of transition into the TTRA. Upon retiring from the TTRA, pension benefits will be based on the cumulative service in the public service and the TTRA.
Q: How will assignments to TTRA be determined?
A: Employees will be put in a position commensurate with their skills, knowledge and experience. All staff have been invited to complete the HR forms which will assist in ensuring that workers are placed in positions that best match their skills set.
Q: What will happen with payment of overtime to staff?
A: Should staff be required to work overtime, they will be paid for same.
Q: How would contract officers be affected?
A: Contract workers will have the same option to transfer to the TTRA. Those persons who do not wish to be transferred, will be redeployed into the Public Service.
Q: Will VSEP be offered?
A: No, VSEP will not be offered as all employees will be redeployed to the TTRA or throughout the public service.
Q: What can workers look forward to with the TTRA?
A: The TTRA will be an organisation employees can be proud of and can look forward to:-
- Job enrichment
- Improved working environment
- Improved training opportunities
- Reduced bureaucracy in hiring, appointments and promotions
- Promotional opportunities based on merit
- Greater accountability
- Pension rights
- Reward for good performance on the organisational and individual levels
Q: Would staff be able to join a union?
A: Employees of the TTRA will enjoy the Right of Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining in keeping with the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago and International Labour Standards.
Q: Why TTRA?
A: The national and international nature of tax administration has changed and we need an organisation that is flexible and responsive to those changes to ensure that we have an effective tax management system for the benefit of all citizens in Trinidad and Tobago. Successive governments have attempted to improve tax administration within the present system with only very limited success.
Q: IRD is perceived as having failed its mandate- why wouldn’t TTRA fail?
A: In developing the design for the TTRA, the Ministry has conducted extensive benchmarking research to ensure the model is appropriate for Trinidad and Tobago. The TTRA will also have robust compliance and collections plans which will ensure the effective management of the TTRA. It is necessary at this time to have a Revenue Authority that will:
- Promote an equitable, fair and just tax system
- Provide value for money
Q: Research shows that many revenue authorities have failed, why should TTRA be any different?
A: Research would also show that many have succeeded beyond expectations. In our benchmarking of good practice, we have identified the common success factors and the pitfalls to avoid. Discussions and engagement with all stakeholders, including staff are ongoing.
- Ministry of Finance