Smooth industrial relations between employers and their workers can only benefit an organisation, and for this reason it is crucial that management understands and learns about pertinent labour legislation.??

This was emphasised today by Labour Officer, Yvette Walcott-Dennis, as she pointed out the need for business operators to attend the Labour Department’s upcoming seminar entitled, Labour Legislation and Industrial Relations Best Practices.

The seminars will be held in the Conference Room 2nd Floor, Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.

Noting that the department received numerous questions daily about labour laws from employees and employers alike she affirmed, "These seminars are intended to provide information about legislation and examine best practices in industrial relations, so that there is reduced conflict and increased harmony in the workplace.

"We also hope to foster closer ties between employers and the Labour Department," Ms. Walcott-Dennis said, adding that pertinent information would be gathered from the interactive sessions and used to assist with policy creation.

She observed that based on calls made to the Labour Department, most people had queries about the Holiday with Pay Act, the Shops Act and the Employment of Women (Maternity) Act.

Ms. Walcott-Dennis said that "most employers and workers wanted to find out who was entitled under the Holiday with Pay Act and how pay should be calculated under this law."??

While women were concerned about maternity entitlements, the Labour Officer noted that employers usually wanted to find out how the Employment of Women (Maternity) Act impacted their business when accommodating pregnant women.??

"The protection of wages is another daily topic, especially as it relates to how deductions of a person’s salary should work. This is often the case when an employee damages something," Ms. Walcott-Dennis remarked.??

Noting that once there was proof of negligence or willful misconduct, that could lead to damage, an employer was obligated under the law to deduct not more than one-third of the worker’s wage or salary as restitution.?? She explained that in other cases permission would have to be sought from the employee.

She also shared that the Shops Act was one piece of legislation with which all Barbadian business owners should become familiar.

"This legislation protects shop assistants, but it is used as a guideline by all employers," the Labour Officer stressed, while adding that "it is for that reason they do not have to stick to each term and condition."

Ms. Wallcot-Dennis explained that it was imperative that managers and employers knew about labour law and urged them to register with the department.

The seminars will be conducted by officers, of the Labour Department.?? Opening remarks would be given by Labour Officers Heather Holder and Pauline Farnum, on Wednesday, February 22, and Thursday, February 23, respectively; while Labour Officer, Richard Hope, will deliver the feature presentation on both days.

Those persons interested in attending the Labour Legislation and Industrial Relations seminar should contact the Industrial Relations Section of the Labour Department at 310-1506 -1511 and 310-1533.??

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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