JIS News

The Senate yesterday (June 13) approved amendments to the Employment Termination and Redundancy Act 2008, to address the dismissal of and compensation for employees.
The changes are to ensure greater compliance with the law by employers/companies and provide for an increase in fines for breaches.
Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, Senator Dwight Nelson, who piloted the Bill, explained that employers will be required to provide the relevant Minister with detailed information in writing, concerning dismissals or reasons for redundancies.
Employers, who, without reasonable excuse, fail to give the employees being made redundant, a written statement indicating how the amount of redundancy payment has been calculated, should be subject to a fine not exceeding $250,000.
The amendments also increase the jurisdiction of the Resident Magistrates Court in relation to claims arising from contract employment or in respect of redundancy payments, to an amount not exceeding $1 million.
“The basis for this is that the Act as present restricts the jurisdiction of a Resident Magistrate who adjudicates on matters relating to redundancy payments, entitlement, or any other claim arising under the Act, to claims which do not exceed $7,000,” Senator Nelson explained.
Meanwhile, Opposition Senator, Navel Clarke, said he supported the amendments, noting that they are “long overdue.”
The Employment Termination and Redundancy Act was passed in 1974 and sought to provide legal prescriptions for redundancy payments and to establish a basis for the determination of redundancy and compensation for workers.
The Act was last amended in 1986 and so the monetary penalties for breaches under the Act have become outdated. In addition, employers are not required to report on redundancies or proposed redundancies making it difficult to effectively monitor redundancy exercises.