Government has done its part to liberalise the opening hours of stores under the Shops Act, and now it is up to the store owners to determine how long they will keep their doors open to accommodate bargain hunting shoppers.

Acting Chief Labour Officer, Victor Felix, made this clear today, while speaking at his department’s Labour Management Relations Seminar at the Warrens Office Complex.  He added that owners do not need to seek permission from the Chief Labour Officer or any government official to open their businesses for extended periods for their commercial purposes.

He said longer shopping hours was an essential feature of the push for Barbados becoming a 24/7 economy, and gave the assurance that the department would not restrict the activity.

“It is now for the operators of businesses to respond to what they see as the market requirements.  For sure, it is not controlled by the labour administration and persons can open around the clock with certain conditions; they can open on Sunday.  The only public holidays that they need to seek permission from the Chief Labour Officer to open are Good Friday, Independence Day, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday,” he said.

He continued: “The evolution of a 24/7 society is where public policy wants to go and the liberalisation of the shopping hours is one of the key steps that can achieve that.”

Mr. Felix also reiterated that if workers were working beyond 11 p.m., employers should have a certificate from the Labour Department to satisfy that appropriate transportation arrangements and security measures were in place for employees.

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