JIS News

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  • Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Errol Miller, says that the Ministry will closely monitor complaints under the impending flexi-work arrangements and take appropriate action where there are breaches.
  • He said that workers will be given an opportunity to negotiate their work hours and work days and as such, will be able to negotiate for their rest day to be on the same day as their day of worship.
  • It is considered a key part of the country’s economic growth agenda and one of the main strategies for the reform of the Jamaican labour market.

Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Errol Miller, says that the Ministry will closely monitor complaints under the impending flexi-work arrangements and take appropriate action where there are breaches.

He also warned that an employer, who seeks to alter existing terms of a contract without the worker’s consent could face court action for breach of contract or proceedings that would likely end up before the Industrial Disputes Tribunal.

Mr. Miller, who was addressing a meeting of the North St. Andrew Kiwanis Club on Thursday (August 22) at the Police Officer’s Club in St. Andrew, reiterated that the arrangements will not contravene the right of any worker to worship on their day of choice.

He said that workers will be given an opportunity to negotiate their work hours and work days and as such, will be able to negotiate for their rest day to be on the same day as their day of worship.

He said freedom to negotiate between employer and employee is a key feature of flexi-work. “So, if it is not consensual, then there can be no flexi-time arrangements. There must be agreement between the employer and the employee in order for that flexi arrangement to be successful,” he stated.

The Employment Flexible Work Arrangements Miscellaneous Provisions Bill was tabled in Parliament in March this year and is expected to be debated in September.

It is considered a key part of the country’s economic growth agenda and one of the main strategies for the reform of the Jamaican labour market.

“The flexi-work situation is expected to enhance the business environment in Jamaica in keeping with the goal of the Vision 2030 Development Plan, which is to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business,” Mr. Miller noted.

The main elements of the flexi-work week are that there will not be a set eight or ten hour work day, but that the work day should be capped at a maximum of 12 hours.

Mr. Miller explained that the work day should consist of 40 hours and those 40 hours can be spread among any number of days. All seven days of the week should be considered as normal working days.

Additionally, overtime should be earned after the worker has completed 40 hours. Currently, the arrangement is that a worker can earn overtime after completing eight hours per day although he/she does not complete 40 hours for the week.

“The Bill will, however,  will not affect overtime payments due for work performed on agreed rest days and public holidays in accordance with the minimum wage legislation,” he said.

Rest days are negotiable between employer and employee and are the days on which there is agreement that no work will take place.

To support flexi-work, the Ministry is seeking to have restrictive clauses in existing legislation modified. Among the laws to be impacted are the Holidays with Pay Act; Shops Regulations, which now prohibits shops from opening after certain hours and particularly on Sundays; and the Employment of Women Act, which stipulates that women should not be employed at nights.

Other laws to be amended include the National Minimum Wage Act and Orders; Town and Communities Act; and the Apprenticeship Motor Mechanic Trade Order.

Mr. Miller further advised that the Flexible Work Bill is not a new piece of legislation, but instead is an amendment to several pieces of legislation, which will impact the labour landscape.