JIS News

Story Highlights

  • After years of being in gestation and ongoing discussions, a Flexible Work Bill will be tabled in Parliament next week.
  • The flexi-work week policy forms part of Government’s efforts to boost the country’s productivity levels.
  • Discussions surrounding flexible work arrangements have been ongoing for 18 years.

After years of being in gestation and ongoing discussions, a Flexible Work Bill will be tabled in Parliament next week.

This was announced by Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, during a tour of the Caribbean Cement Company Ltd.’s Rockfort plant on Wednesday, March 19.

Mr. Kellier said the flexi-work week policy forms part of Government’s efforts to boost the country’s productivity levels.

Discussions surrounding flexible work arrangements have been ongoing for 18 years. The term refers to a variable work schedule, and incorporates flexi-time, which allows the worker and employer the opportunity to arrange the traditional 40-hour work week as best suits their needs.

Mr. Kellier said workers and employers stand to benefit from the introduction of the arrangements, stressing that workers will be better able to co-ordinate their work hours with other obligations that they may have.

“It will also give scope to enterprises that want to do additional production work. It will enable management and workers to work different modalities in respect of the time that persons can work by law and be compensated as such,” he argued.

The Minister noted that among the benefits for Jamaica are increased employment, as persons exploit part-time work; opportunities for second employment and job-sharing; increased productivity; and more time for family and personal interests, particularly if a compressed work week is utilised.

In the meantime, Mr. Kellier informed that the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) should be passed in Parliament at the beginning of the new financial year.

The Act will set the groundwork for the protection of all workers in all spheres of economic activities, and will comprehensively address all occupational hazards.

On this note, the Minister congratulated the management and staff of Carib Cement for their dedication to safety in the workplace, pointing out that the organisation has just completed an audit in keeping with the OSHA guidelines.

“The information received indicates that (Carib Cement’s) safety record has been extremely good and the upcoming implementation of the OSHA will help them even further to set those benchmarks for safety within the factory space,” he said.

Mr. Kellier was taken on the tour  Chief Executive Officer, TCL Group, Dr. Rollin Bertrand; General Manager, Caribbean Cement Company Limited, Anthony Haynes, and Chief Chemist, Andrew Stephenson.