As businesses, especially those in the distributive sector, prepare to extend their shopping hours for the Christmas period, they are being reminded by the Labour Department that overtime is not compulsory; therefore, employers must cooperate with their employees on this matter.

An official of the Labour Department maintained that unless in unforeseen circumstances, reasonable notice should be given by employers of expected overtime. She explained that conversely, employees should also give reasonable notice where assigned overtime cannot be met.

"Overtime rates apply for any work done after eight hours in a work day or more than five days in a work week… Rates for overtime are one and a half times the normal rate and double pay on bank holidays," she underscored.

According to the spokesperson, daily opening hours of shops are 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and employees are entitled to two days off weekly and a lunch break after four and a half hours of work each day.

She further stated that the wage rate paid to shop assistants must not be less than $5 per hour.

The official stressed that if members of the public required additional information, they should contact the Labour Department at 310-1500.??

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