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Prohibition against Termination

An employer shall not terminate the services of an employee on any of the following grounds:

1. Trade union membership or participation in trade union activities outside working hours or, with the consent of the employer, within working hours.

2. Seeking office as, or acting as the capacity of, an employee representative.

3. Making a complaint or participating in proceedings against an employer involving an alleged violation of laws and regulation.

4. Race, colour, sex, marital status, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, nationality or social origin.

5. Reasonable absence from work due to family emergencies or responsibilities.

6. Absence from work during maternity leave as certified by a medical practitioner.

7. Absence from work due to injury or illness provided that the employee submits a medical certificate to his employer by the third day of absence.

8. Absence from work in the performance of jury service as required by law.

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Cabinet has, on the 11 February, 2015 appointed Wages Councils to undertake a review of the minimum wages regulations.  The Councils were launched at an official ceremony on Thursday 31 March, 2016 at the Peace Memorial Hall in Kingstown.

Delivering the keynote address, Minister of Labour, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves noted that some employers, for example, some employers of agricultural workers are already paying wages that are above the current minimum. “Whether this wages council will fix the minimum wages more reflective of the going market rate, or whether they would establish a new floor that employers would have to go beyond, is a matter that I am sure you would discuss robustly,” Gonsalves said.

He noted further that, “at the most basic level, minimum wage increase has the potential to stimulate the economy and increase demand by putting money into the pockets of low-income consumers who immediately spend it at local businesses.”

Noting that setting higher minimum wage can increase unemployment if employers decide to lay off workers in order meet their obligation to pay higher wages, while keeping the wage bill constant, Gonsalves cautioned that “the minimum wages cannot be set so high as to markedly increase unemployment, drive workers into the informal sector or encourage noncompliance by employers. In those circumstances, you find yourself with a high minimum wage on the books but very few persons actually earning the prescribed minimum wage.”

In his brief address, chairman of the Wages Councils, Mr. Lloyd Small underscored the importance of strengthening the labour inspection mechanism within the Department of Labour to ensure compliance with any new regulations.

Internet Photo

Lloyd Small, Wages Council Chairman

A total of seven councils have been appointed as follows:

1. Agricultural Workers

Mr. Errol Nobel Davis – Employer

Mr. Irvine Robertson – Worker

Mr. Wilberforce Emmanuel – Independent

2. Domestic Workers

Mrs. Carmel Lyttle – Employer

Mrs. Andrea Patterson – Worker

Mrs. Neva Cordice – Independent

3. Hotel Workers

Mrs. Kim Halbich – Employer

Ms. Cherian Gordon – Worker

Ms. Lavinia Gunn – Independent

4. Industrial Workers

Mr. Desmond Morgan – Employer

Mr. Eugene Mofford – Worker

Mrs. Patrice Roberts-Samuel – Independent

5. Security Workers

Mr. Ian Beache – Employer

Mr. Carlson Forde – Worker

Mr. Joseph W. Jack – Independent

6. Shop Assistants

Mrs. Juliet George – Employer

Mr. Aubrey Burgin – Worker

Mr. Keith Edwards – Independent

7. Office of Professionals

Ms. Camille Crichton – Employer

Ms. Michelle Richardson – Worker

Mr. Kezon Walters – Independent

Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can pay an employee. Most employees are eligible for minimum wage, whether they are full-time, part-time, casual employees, or are paid an hourly rate, flat rate or salary.