June 4, 2013

Employees must be paid severance from commencement of employment

Employers will, from now on, be required to pay severance pay beginning from the date the affected employee took up employment.{{more}}

The Protection of Employment (Amendment) Bill 2012 went through all the stages and was passed in the House of Assembly on May 27.

Maxwell Charles, Minister of National Reconciliation, the Public Service, Labour, Information and Ecclesiastical Affairs, during the debate segment of the Bill, explained that over the years, there has been some ambiguity in the interpretation of the law.

“Some (employers) paid for every year of service; some paid for all, except the first two years,” Charles said.

He further explained that the law, preceding the amendment, read such that employers pay employees two weeks pay for each year of continuous service from two to 10 years; three weeks for each further year of continuous employment from 11 to 25 years and four weeks for each year of continuous employment in excess of 25 years, when they are severed.

But based on a court ruling, it was decided that the law be interpreted that severance pay is paid to an individual beginning only after that person’s second year of employment.

“This should be changed – that every day you toiled and laboured when taking into consideration severance pay,” Charles said.

“It is going to ensure an employee is compensated for every year that you are qualified for,” he said.(DD)