Wednesday, April 24, 2024

More rights in Employment Act


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Very often the Employment Rights Act 2012 is viewed only in terms of the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

However, the act confers a number of other rights on employees, including the following:

1. The right, at the commencement of employment, to a written statement of particulars of the employment;

2. The right, whenever salary or wages are paid, to a written statement of particulars of the payment;

3. The right to be consulted before being laid off or placed on short-time;

4. The right, if dismissed for redundancy, to priority on a rehiring in certain circumstances;

5. The right, where employment has ended, to a certificate giving particulars of the employment including, where the employment ended by dismissal (should the employee so wish), a statement of the reasons why he was dismissed.

The right to a written statement of particulars and the right to an itemised pay statement are two significant changes to employment law in Barbados.

The written statement must contain:

1. The names of the employee and the name and address of the employer.

2. The date when the employment begins or began or as the case may be.

3. The date on which the employee’s period of continuous employment begins or began as the case may be (usually the same as the start date, but work with another employer might be included).

4. The title of the job and the description. of the work which the employee is employed to do.

5. The scale rate or method of calculating remuneration.

6. The pay intervals (for example, weekly).

7. The normal hours of work.

8. Holiday entitlements.

9. Sickness and incapacity details and entitlements.

10. Pension scheme details.

11. The period of probation, if any.

12. Notice entitlement (that is, the length of notice which the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive in respect of termination of his contract of employment).

13. If the job is not permanent, the period for which it is meant to last, including any fixed term.

14. The expected place of work and address of the employer.

15. Any collective agreements affecting the employment.

16. A note specifying any grievance and disciplinary rules applicable to the employee.

The above-mentioned rights are set out in Sections 13 and 14 of the Employment Rights Act, though not necessarily in the order or form set out above.

Where a change occurs to any of the provisions mentioned above, then the employer must notify the employee of such changes at the earliest opportunity (and not later than 30 days after the change). 

An employee is given the right to receive from his employer, at or before the time of payment to him of wages, a written, itemised pay statement which must include:

1. The gross amount of wages.

2. The amounts of any variable or fixed deductions from that gross amount and the purposes for which these deductions are made.

3. The net amount of wages payable.

4. The date of payment and the dates of the pay period.

Where an employer refuses to give an employee a written statement of particulars of employment, a statement of changes where applicable, or an itemised pay statement, the employee may make a complaint to the Employment Rights Tribunal asking it to determine what particulars ought to have been included or referred to in a statement so as to comply with the requirements of the law.

Where the tribunal finds that there are unnotified deductions made from the wages of an employee during the period of 26 weeks immediately proceedings the date of the complaint, it may order the employer to pay the employee a sum up to the amount of the aggregate of the unnotified deductions.

• Cecil McCarthy is a Queen’s Counsel. Send your letters to Everyday Law, Nation House, Fontabelle, St Michael.


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