JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Persons of religious persuasions, particularly those of the Seventh Day Adventist Faith, should not fear the Flexi-Work Bill.
  • A work day can be as much as 12 hours, with a work week consisting of 40 hours over any number of days.
  • The State Minister argued that the Flexi-Work Bill will be seeking to modernize the working arrangements in the country, adding that this will ultimately lead to higher employment levels and higher productivity.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Arnaldo Brown, says persons of religious persuasions, particularly those of the Seventh Day Adventist Faith, should not fear the Flexi-Work Bill.

“In fact, it will bring with it a number of positives,” the State Minister asserted.

Making a presentation during a panel discussion, held at the St. Ann’s Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church, in St. Ann, on May 24, Mr. Brown sought to outline the impact and the implications of the coming Bill with regards to religious worshippers, irrespective of denomination.

He  gave details of some of the proposed changes that will come into effect with the passing of the Bill, foremost of which will be that a work day can be as much as 12 hours, with a work week consisting of 40 hours over any number of days.

“The idea of moving or lifting the number of hours which can be worked per day is really so that the 40 hours can be met earlier than seven days. If it remained at eight hours per day it means you are going to take a longer number of days to get to 40 hours, so at 12 hours per day you will take less time to get to the 40 hours,” he pointed out.

The State Minister argued that the Flexi-Work Bill will be seeking to modernize the working arrangements in the country, adding that this will ultimately lead to higher employment levels and higher productivity.

He said the Minister of Labour and Social Security (Hon. Derrick Kellier),  who is responsible for the Bill, has made it clear that  the legislation is not being foisted upon employers.

“It is not a must that they (employers) introduce flexi arrangements, but he is providing for the workers and indeed the employers in the country, this option if they so choose, because they would have to look at the particular industry in which they are operating, and see whether or not the model is an appropriate fit for them and make that determination,” the State Minister noted.

He emphasized that there is nothing mandatory about the flexi-work legislation to come, insisting that it is a modernization of the country’s laws governing work rules and conditions.

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Floyd Morris, who was one of the panelists, expressed the view that the Bill will create tremendous opportunities for many Jamaicans, and will also make the Jamaican economy more competitive.

For their part, President of the North Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, Pastor Karl Archer, and Public Affairs and Religious Liberty and Communications Director at the Jamaica Union of Seventh Day Adventists, Nigel Coke, who were also panelists, said the Seventh Day Adventist movement fully endorses the Flexi-Work arrangements, despite some minor concerns.

They gave an undertaking to continue the education process within their religious movement about the coming arrangements, even while the leaders seek to straighten out the concerns.