Cuba approved a differentiated social security regime for Cuban seafarers hired by foreign employers.
The measure envisages 4,929 seafarers, hired through the state agency Selecmar, as salaried workers abroad. By virtue of this, they receive 100% of the salary agreed in the contract with their foreign employers, according to First Deputy Minister of Transportation Marta Oramas, quoted by the daily Granma.
Decree Law 382/2019, published this Thursday in the Gaceta Oficial Ordinaria No. 48, also regulates the payment of taxes on personal income, in accordance with the characteristics and particularities of the activity they carry out.
Entitled “On the Special Social Security Scheme for Seafarers,” the decree protects the seafarer in circumstances of total, temporary or permanent disability, as well as in old age, maternity and it protects their family in the case of death.
“Affiliation to the special regime is mandatory and constitutes an indispensable requirement to receive social security benefits,” Hayde Franco, deputy director general of the National Institute of Social Security, told Granma.
Seafarers who are part of the general system or any other special social security system are excluded from the new regulations, Franco explained.
For her part, the director of income policy of the Ministry of Finance and Prices, Yahily García, pointed out that Resolution No. 450/2019 regulates the payment of Personal Income Tax, with the conversion to Cuban pesos (CUP) of the income obtained by said contract and in accordance with the current exchange rate.
The corresponding tax rate is applied to total income, according to a progressive scale of 15 to 30%, in such a way that the tax will be higher for workers with higher incomes.
Seafarers must pay their taxes 30 calendar days after their arrival in Cuba, once the contract concludes, García said.
The Gaceta Oficial Ordinaria No. 48 also contains Resolution 467/2019, which regulates the hiring of seafarers to provide services with foreign shipping companies or shipowners.
In the case of recruitment contracts, the regulations establish that Selecmar is obliged to provide the seafarer with facilities to examine and study the clauses before signing.
The Cuban state entity is also obliged to establish in the contract that “if during the voyage the ship must navigate through declared war areas, of piracy, epidemic or others, seafarers have the right to interrupt the provision of the service without risk of losing their job or suffering any measure against them.”