While challenges are inevitable, businesses in Barbados are meeting the mark by complying with both the Employment Rights Act (ERA) and the Safety and Health at Work Act (SHaW).

Minister of Labour, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo made this assertion this morning, following a site visit to The Crane Resort, St. Philip. The purpose of the visit, the third in a series, was to ensure that the transition into the use of new legislation was a smooth one.

Noting that both Acts catered to the needs of employers and employees, the Minister said that she was pleased to see that the hotel had long established a culture of safety and also boasted an active SHaW committee and was becoming acculturated to the ERA.

???The Employment Rights Act is about equity, it is about ensuring that employers can get the best out of their workers because they have clearly stipulated rules for engagement???It takes the guess work out of your engagement, you know where you???re supposed to be, at what time, what you???re supposed to be doing and how the organisation is supposed to treat you,??? she said.

However, Minister Byer Suckoo acknowledged that employers were finding challenges with one aspect of the ERA, where ???the legislation speaks to the need to have a consultation process [of] six weeks???before lay-off. As we engage more employers, we understand that they???re certain circumstances??where six weeks are not practical; but the legislation says that where this is not practical, there are procedures,??? she advised, adding that options such as a rolling notice ??? where an employer announces that a lay-off is possible in the near future ??? goes against the spirit of the legislation and would negatively affect productivity.

She stressed that thus far, there had been no resistance on the part of employers and managers vis a vis the two new pieces of legislation. In fact, she said, they were finding new ways to address their own challenges, such as absenteeism and uncertified sick leave, by offering incentives to employees for excellence in work attendance.

Emphasising her own and the Labour Department???s dedication to continued sensitisation about SHaW and the ERA, Minister Byer Suckoo added, ???people are aware that there???s this legislation that needs to be widely discussed??? The legislation took more than 20 years to get to Parliament???but now there???s the whole of Barbados that needs to know???as long as people need to know, we???ll be out there telling them [about it]???.


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