(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)
Plans are afoot to make changes to the 2010 Labour Code, and it is opined that matters arising from the 2017 disasters of a labour nature will be included in the amended legislation.
Additionally, the Department of Labour and Workforce Development is also planning to offer an orientation type service to business owners to help them better understand the Code.
These announcements were made by Labour Commissioner, Janice Rymer during the renaming ceremony on July 5.
However, Rymer's announcement of revision to the Code and orientation for employers was preempted by Clarence Thomas Ltd's Managing Director, Michael Thomas, who was one of the speakers at the event.
Thomas, who lauded the department for the assistance it has provided to his company over the years, suggested that more can be done to assist other employers. He explained that as a business owner/employer, he had to seek assistance from the department on occasions for assistance understanding the Code. Therefore, he said that the department should extend an open opportunity for other employers to be educated as well.
The CTL Managing Director said, "I take this opportunity to encourage the newly renamed...Department of Labour and Workforce Development to initiate educational sessions and training seminars to the private sector to reeducate employers to the Labour Code. There are some grey areas in the Code which can be better explained in detail to allow the business community to forge a better relationship with the department and the employees of the businesses."
Thomas, in drawing further attention to the Labour Code, opined that the employment landscape was changed by the 2017 disasters, and as such, there are new realities.
"Since the hurricanes of 2017, the rebuilding and recovery process has forced a change in BVI workforce. Many businesses have also changed the manner in which hiring was done and so these educational sessions are badly needed," he explained.
The CTL MD therefore suggested that the 2010 Labour Code be revisited to establish a protocol to be followed by employers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities. He said that this protocol would be useful following a natural disaster or in the unfortunate circumstance that there is a complete long term business closure.
In response, the Labour Commissioner noted that the department is already planning to offer some form of educational service to employers.
"The Labour Department is in fact getting ready to launch our first orientation for employers...That's coming on stream in short order. We've started our orientation for new employees every Thursday at the department. Now we are ready to turn our attention to the employers, so that they can have an opportunity to speak to us about any issues they may have, and for us to go through the terms and condition of employment so we will be doing that."
Rymer also said that the department has suggested that the Labour Code be amended.
"We will be looking at amendments to the Labour Code and we have identified particular areas that we are cognizant that needs to looked at very quickly, especially during the recent disasters of Irma and Maria," the Labour Commissioner disclosed.