Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles, has predicted that the implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) will allow for increased employment opportunities for Jamaicans.
“We expect that more workers will go to work, more employers will be able to afford you working and the Decent Work Agenda, certainly, will be realised,” he told Tuesday’s (March 30) seminar on employment issues at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston.
FWAs, which had been a part of the Labour Market Reform (LMR) process discussions at the Labour Advisory Committee (LAC) since 1997, were approved by Parliament in February. The provisions address variations in hours worked each day, the number of days worked each week, as well as in the days of the week when employees work.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles (left) conversing with, from left, Chairman of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Paul Scott, and Partner at law firm Myers, Fletcher and Gordon, Hilary Reid, during a seminar on employment issues at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (March 30).
However, despite the passage of the Bill, there are a number of related Acts which will have to be amended to bring them in line with the new provisions, before FWAs can be fully implemented.
Mr. Charles noted that the Government plans to use the flexible work week arrangement to increase the work force, and take the burden off employers.
He said that currently, the arrangements allow for an eight-hour work day, five days a week, with over time entitlements on Saturdays and Sundays. However, the proposed arrangements under the FWAs will make all seven days of the week normal work days.
“We are saying you can do your 40-hour week in three and a half days and go home and spend the next two and a half days with your children….so your work week can start on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday and half day Tuesday, (with) Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to go home,” he said.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles (right) is greeted by Partner at the law firm Myers, Fletcher and Gordon (MF&G), Maliaca Wong (right), as he arrived at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (March 30), to participate in an employment issues seminar. Looking on at centre is Partner at MF & G, Bruce Levy.
The Minister further explained that should an employer require the services of an employee beyond the 40 hrs per week, the FWAs also make provisions for this.
“If you work three and a half days and it is Saturday, Sunday, Monday and half day Tuesday and the employer needs you for two more days, then Wednesday and Thursday would become your overtime days, if they want you to work more than 40 hours per week,” he said.
The seminar, held under the theme: ‘Starting Up, Starting Over, Doing’, was hosted by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Conference Board and Myers, Fletcher and Gordon.