The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is working with employers to retain workers as the country continues to grapple with the economic and social fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Collette Roberts-Risden, told JIS News the Ministry has been meeting with a number of employers and trade unions to discuss strategies to prevent the layoff of workers.
“Many persons are having it difficult, not just the companies themselves but individuals and so we have been encouraging employers not to lay off persons. If you have to lay off persons, provide them with some level of income that can help to sustain them during the period,” she urged.
However, where layoffs are unavoidable, Roberts-Risden advised employers to be guided by the provisions of the Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payment) Act. “We have been encouraging our employers to look at the laws that are already in existence to see how, within the ambit of those laws, you can function,” she said.
The Act outlines the circumstances under which long-serving employees are compensated for the loss of their jobs in the form of a redundancy payment. Under the Act, a statutory redundancy payment is due where an employee is made redundant with at least two years of continuous service.
Seasonal workers may also be entitled to a redundancy payment in circumstances where the seasonal employee has been employed for two or more consecutive seasons on a continuous basis. An employee is normally entitled to a redundancy payment where his contract is terminated because the employer has ceased or intends to cease to carry on business in which the employee was employed; or where the employee is no longer required to carry out work of a particular kind.
This is also applicable where the employee has suffered personal injury that was caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment or where the employee has developed a disease prescribed under the Act; or where a seasonal employee attends his or her workplace at the beginning of any season in accordance with instructions given by his employer, and the employer fails to provide him with employment.