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Antigua and Barbuda

Benefits and Entitlements Overview

Learn about mandatory and optional employee benefits in Antigua and Barbuda

Mandatory benefits

In Antigua and Barbuda, several benefits for employees are mandated by law, providing a baseline level of security for workers.

  • Annual Leave: Employees accrue annual leave based on their tenure. After the first year of uninterrupted work, employees are entitled to leave after six months. Subsequent years allow for leave to be granted at any point during the year.

  • Public Holidays: Employees are entitled to paid time off on national public holidays.

  • Sick Leave: Employees are entitled to paid sick leave for the first twelve days within a twelve-month period, calculated from their employment start date and each anniversary thereafter. Payment during this leave is at the employee's basic wage.

Parental Leave

  • Maternity Leave: Legislation guarantees maternity leave; however, specific details are often not outlined and can be determined by collective bargaining agreements.

  • Paternity Leave: Similar to maternity leave, paternity leave specifics are not mandated by law and may be subject to collective bargaining agreements.

Other Mandatory Benefits

  • Social Security: Both employers and employees contribute to the Social Security system, providing benefits such as pensions, unemployment benefits, and healthcare.

  • Medical Benefits: Employers are required to register with the Medical Benefits Scheme and contribute towards employee healthcare.

  • Overtime Pay: Employees are entitled to overtime compensation beyond the standard work hours.

  • Severance Pay: Under specific circumstances, employees may be entitled to severance pay upon termination. Notice periods are also mandated by law, requiring employers to provide written notice before termination.

Optional benefits

In Antigua and Barbuda, many employers go beyond the mandated benefits to offer additional perks to attract and retain top talent.

Life Insurance

Some employers provide group life insurance plans for employees and their dependents.

Disability Insurance

Employers may offer disability insurance to provide financial security in case of an employee becoming disabled.

Wellness Programs

Companies may invest in employee wellness programs that promote health and well-being, including gym memberships, fitness classes, or health screenings.

Flexible Work Arrangements

To enhance work-life balance, employers may offer flexible work arrangements such as remote work options, compressed workweeks, or flexible start and end times.

Some employers may offer additional paid time off beyond the mandated minimum, including vacation days, personal days, or bereavement leave.

Profit Sharing or Bonuses

Companies may offer performance-based bonuses or profit-sharing programs to incentivize employees.

Educational Assistance

Employers may offer tuition reimbursement or educational assistance programs to support employees' professional development.

Employee Discounts

Discounted services or products offered by the company or partnered businesses can be a valuable perk.

Health insurance requirements

In Antigua and Barbuda, all employers are required to register with the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) and contribute towards their employees' healthcare. This scheme provides basic healthcare coverage for a defined range of medical services.

Mandatory Health Insurance

Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS)

The MBS is a mandatory health insurance scheme that all employers in Antigua and Barbuda must register with and contribute to. This scheme provides basic healthcare coverage for a defined range of medical services.

Optional Health Insurance

Private Health Insurance

While the MBS offers a foundation, many employers extend health benefits by offering private health insurance plans. These plans typically provide broader coverage options compared to the MBS, including specialists, expanded medication coverage, and private room options in hospitals.

Employee vs. Employer Contributions


The contribution rates for the MBS are shared between employers and employees through payroll deductions. The specific contribution percentages are outlined by the Medical Benefits Scheme.

Private Health Insurance

With private health insurance plans offered by employers, contribution structures can vary. Some employers may fully cover the premium, while others may offer a contributory model where employees share the cost.

Retirement plans

In Antigua and Barbuda, retirement planning is approached in two ways: a social security system and employer-sponsored plans.

Social Security System

Both employers and employees contribute to the Antigua and Barbuda Social Security Board, ensuring a baseline level of retirement income for qualifying individuals. The Social Security System provides retirement pensions. To qualify for a pension, individuals must reach the retirement age (currently 65 years old) and contribute for a minimum period as outlined by the Social Security Board.

Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Some employers may offer private pension plans or other retirement savings vehicles in addition to the Social Security system. These plans are not mandatory and depend on the specific company's benefits package. Employer-sponsored plans can offer various advantages, such as tax benefits, investment options, and potentially higher payouts upon retirement compared to Social Security alone.

Choosing a Retirement Plan

Participation in the Social Security system is mandatory and provides a foundation for retirement income. If available, employer-sponsored plans can significantly enhance retirement savings. Carefully consider the contribution options, investment choices, and associated fees before enrolling. Individuals can also consider additional voluntary contributions to private investment accounts or retirement savings plans to reach their retirement income goals.

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