Sunday is a public holiday in Dominica: Employers want that to change

These persons were seen shopping in Dominica in 2014. (Photo: sundominica.com)

The Dominica Employers Federation (DEF) on Friday said that in order to comply with demands from the public for “more shopping hours” it would seek to have the government amend existing legislation so as to allow business places to operate on a Sunday.

“We would like the Sundays to be removed from the Public Holidays Act, so businesses are free to open.”

— Achille Joseph

“One of the major things we are going to do in 2020, and it is not new, it has been on the burner for a while, but we are going to use a different strategy to communicate that, is the business sector’s thinking on how we treat Sundays as far as employment is concerned in this country,” said executive director, Achille Joseph.

More convenient shopping hours

He said at present, Dominica has the Public Holiday Act that declares Sundays to be public holidays.

“That is in addition to the Christmas holidays, the New Years, Easter and Carnival. So, we will have in Dominica somewhere around 63, 64 public holidays in a year taking into consideration Sundays. What that does is that an employee can choose not to come to work on a public holiday…(and) that’s his right, and if he decides to work it goes at double time.

“But what has been happening in Dominica for quite a while now is that the country is demanding from the private sector more convenient shopping hours, so businesses are simply responding to the demands of the clientele,” Joseph said.

He said businesses are now opening on a Sunday “but there is a law that says otherwise.

“So, in one way we are violating that law and we don’t want to continue to violate the law. We would like the Sundays to be removed from the Public Holidays Act, so businesses are free to open. We are simply saying an employer should be given the freedom to decide whether he opens on a Sunday or not,” he said.