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  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) is assuring workers that they have no reason to fear discrimination under the Flexible Work Arrangement law.
  • Acting Director of the Legal Services Unit at the Ministry, Camille Bennett-Campbell, says the Act can only be implemented at a place of business after negotiations between an employer and the employees.
  • Addressing the concern about employers having the advantage during negotiations on flexi time, Mrs. Bennett-Campbell said this inclusion is for the betterment of the worker, as it was not applicable before.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) is assuring workers that they have no reason to fear discrimination under the Flexible Work Arrangement law.

Acting Director of the Legal Services Unit at the Ministry, Camille Bennett-Campbell, says the Act can only be implemented at a place of business after negotiations between an employer and the employees.

The Acting Director was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, on Wednesday, November 26.

Addressing the concern about employers having the advantage during negotiations on flexi time, Mrs. Bennett-Campbell said this inclusion is for the betterment of the worker, as it was not applicable before.

“Before, you were not free to negotiate; you were just told these are your hours and days of work, so you had no option to negotiate at all. What we have done with flexi work is give you more scope to have a say in your days and hours of work,” she said.

Mrs. Bennett-Campbell informed that “if an employer is trying to change a contract without the agreement of the worker, that is a breach and is actionable in a court of law.”

“The matter can also be reported to the Ministry through either the Pay and Conditions of Employment Branch or through the Industrial Relations Department,” she noted.

The Acting Director reminded that freedom to worship is a Constitutional right that no one should be denied.

“Freedom to worship is a part of the Constitution and it is the supreme law of the land. Therefore, the Supreme Court is where you would go for redress in those cases, but where you have suffered an occupational detriment, where an action has been taken because an employee has sought to exercise the right to worship, then we have the right to intervene,” she explained.

In the meantime, Director of the Pay and Conditions of Employment Branch at the Ministry, Faylene Foster, who also addressed the ‘Think Tank’, urged dissatisfied workers to approach the Ministry with their concerns.

“Nobody can change your contract without an agreement, but if you are afraid to come forward, we at the Ministry will not know what is happening and we will be unable to assist you. There should not be any fear in terms of the employee trying to negotiate and if anything is being forced on them, there is recourse,” Ms. Foster said.

The Flexible Work Arrangements (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was passed in the Senate on October 31, paving the way for flexible working time. Several laws were amended to allow for the implementation of the legislation, including Holidays With Pay Order, Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act, Minimum Wage (Industrial Security Guards) Order and the National Minimum Wage Order.

Under the legislation, the work week will consist of 40 hours, with all seven days considered as possible normal working days. Overtime will become payable after the worker has exceeded the 40 hours.

There will be no set eight or 10-hour work days, instead each day will be capped at a maximum of 12 hours.

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