A number of pieces of labour legislation are expected to be modernised and new ones introduced so as to ensure that the objectives of the Decent Work Country Programme, which is being finalised for Barbados, are achieved.

While addressing the 69th Annual Delegates’ Conference of the Barbados Workers’ Union last Saturday, Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, highlighted the Holidays with Pay (Amendment) Act, the Employment Rights Bill, the Amendment to the Shops Act, and the Safety and Health at Work Regulations as examples of legislation expected to be updated.

Dr. Byer Suckoo disclosed that the Safety and Health at Work Regulations were on the front burner and would receive the attention of the Governance Committee of Cabinet in a matter of days.

She explained that the Holidays with Pay Act would bring clarity to certain aspects of the legislation, including "the process for calculating average pay and an amended definition of total remuneration to prevent those workers being employed and paid only on a commission basis from being disadvantaged. In addition, the proposed amendment will ensure that a worker is paid for the extra day granted when a public holiday falls within his vacation," she assured.

Referring to the Employment Rights Bill, she said it would seek to confer employment rights on both employers and employees. Among those, she stated, is the right to a statutory minimum amount of notice of termination, as well as the establishment of an Employment Rights Tribunal.

Turning her attention to the Amendment to the Shops Act, the Minister noted that it would, among other things, remove the current restriction of opening hours for those operations classified as shops. "Built into the legislation is the requirement for adequate rest breaks and transportation arrangements which take into consideration the needs of the workers in the new proposals," she emphasised.

Dr. Byer Suckoo insisted that in all of the legislation, the welfare of the worker is paramount and the sanctity of the social partnership will be respected.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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