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Published 30th August 2006, 12:2pm

Failure to have a standard health insurance contract in place for a security guard cost his employer a fine of $500.

Failure to have a health insurance contract in place for himself cost the employer another $500.

The fines were imposed by Magistrate Grace Donalds after Garth Ebanks pleaded guilty on behalf of his company, W5 Security Services Ltd.

The matter came before the Summary Court for the first time on Tuesday and was dealt with the same day.

Both charges covered the same time frame, between 23 December 2005 and 26 July 2006.

Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban said the first charge was based on a complaint by a security guard working with W5. He told the Health Insurance Commission that Mr. Ebanks had not effected health insurance for him.

The employee said he had begun work in September 2004 and had asked over and over about health insurance. He said the employer promised to look into it, but that had not been done.

According to the procedure laid down in law, the Health Insurance Commission wrote to the employer, but there was no reply. A second letter was sent and there was no reply.

A third letter warned the employer of prosecution.

At that stage, the employer said he was looking for a reasonable policy for his employees. He said he had spoken with them and they all refused to sign the relevant forms.

For himself, he said he had coverage through his spouse’s insurance. This turned out to be not true.

In court, the magistrate asked if he had anything to say. She noted that the company was charged, not the individual. There was no defence attorney and Mr. Ebanks spoke on behalf of the company.

He said he had spoken to his employees and they remained the same. He apologised to the court that he did not proceed to get the insurance. He said he would go ahead and get it and bring it back to court to show.

The magistrate told him it would be a continuing offence if he did not get the insurance.

The maximum penalty under the law is $5,000. The court may also impose a fine of $100 per day for each day the offence continues.

There is currently another case before the court that involves an employer’s alleged failure to provide health insurance for an employee. Cayman Elite Ltd. and Wendel Wendel have pleaded not guilty. The part–heard trial was scheduled to resume on 23 October (Caymanian Compass, 10 August).