Employers Praise Labour Department’s Legislation Workshop

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Employers, who participated in the Labour Department???s Labour Legislation and Industrial Relations Best Practices Seminars, have described those sessions as ???useful with far-reaching benefits???.

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In praising the organisers, business operators and top-level managers said that attending the workshop was crucial to not only their understanding and execution of the law, but also to the smooth running of their businesses.

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Held at the Warrens??? Office Complex recently, the attendees got the opportunity to examine several pieces of Labour Legislation including the Holiday with Pay Act, the Protection of Wages Act, the Shops Act and the Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act.

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The interactive sessions saw employers questioning Labour Officers, Pauline Farnum and Richard Hope, on law implementation and industry practices. Several persons also made recommendations for future legislation.

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Payroll Manager at C.O. Williams, Sharon Carew-White, noted that this was the first Labour Legislation workshop that she attended. ???I find it to be very informative; I wish there was one earlier in the year as I had some challenges with the Holiday with Pay Act.???

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During the seminar, Labour Officer, Richard Hope, explained to the employers that staff must have worked for at least 12 months to qualify for vacation; he also reviewed conditions of the act and outlined how to calculate holiday pay. Furthermore, he explained the differences in how the law applied to workers who are paid daily or hourly and employees who are paid monthly.

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Stressing that it was important for management to clearly state in writing how a worker is paid, he noted that many times, persons visit the Labour Department assuming that they were paid weekly, when, in fact, they were hourly or daily paid workers who received their earnings at the end of the week.

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Speaking about his participation in the seminar, Managing Director of Quality Hardware Inc., Abbas Chothia, said: ???A lot of questions have been answered; it was so beneficial and important. I think every employer should attend these sessions,??? he noted, adding that he would be sharing what he learnt with his employees.

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???I plan to have an in-house meeting with staff to explain what their responsibilities are and how the law protects them. I will also explain what is required of me and how I am protected by labour legislation so we could move forward together,??? Mr. Chothia outlined.

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In addition, C.O. Williams??? Payroll Manager, Sharon Carew-White, said that she would be educating her staff. ???For me it is about clarity, the employees interpret laws differently to how the employer would see it, and for me that was the challenge.???

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Managing Director of LCI Incorporated, Marsha Lewis, commended the Labour Department for hosting the seminars but urged more employers to participate. The human resource consultant said most of her clients needed guidance on the application of the Employment of Women (Maternity) Act and the Holidays with Pay Act.

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???It is good that the labour office is educating employers on the application of these laws. They need to be lauded for focusing not only on the employee but also the rights of the employer. Education allows for us to have a more proactive approach to legislation implementation and creates less dis-ease and discomfort in the workplace, she said.

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She also called for Barbados to look at implementing a Paternity Act and emphasised she was ???anxiously awaiting the Employment Rights Act to be passed???.

??According to Ms. Lewis, that Act would help this island to ???practise more proactive employee-employer relations and reduce some of the tension that exists in our industrial relations climate???.The six seminars are held each financial year and she indicated that the other Labour Legislation seminars will commence in April.

shamkoe.pile@barbados.gov.bb

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